THOMAS LEE

FALSIVIR'S TRAVELS

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Published for the Proprietor, London, 1886

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Falsivir's Travels, 1886



The Remarkable Adventures Of John Falsivir, Seaman,
At The North Pole And In The Interior Of The Earth;
With A Description Of The Wonderful People And The
Things He Discovered There. Edited By Thomas Lee.




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Falsivir's Travels, Title Page



TABLE OF CONTENTS



INTRODUCTION.

IT is many years since I returned from my last voyage, full particulars whereof I have mentioned in my book of travels, written soon after my return from the centre of the earth. I arrived in London, July 18, 1851, and went directly to my family who were residing at No. 18, Little Randolph Street, Camden Town, near the "Old Eagle" public house, where the busses used to stop. By my wife I was warmly welcomed home, the more so as it was supposed I was dead; but to all their eager inquiries respecting what had befallen me in my voyage I refused to give any account. My reason for this was the hope of receiving a substantial reward from the Government, and so I thought it best to tell my story straight to the proper person rather than allow outsiders to get the particulars.

Mr. Gladstone, to whom I first applied, readily granted me an interview, and listened patiently to all I had to say, frequently taking notes during our conversation. At length, after I had done speaking, he—with a smiling yet half-serious countenance—exclaimed "Do you seriously mean to say, Mr. Falsivir, that this strange narrative you have just related is strictly true?" I assured him that it was, and suggested that it could be easily proved that there was such a ship as the "Arctic Whale," with many other things relating to this vessel. His answer to this was: "I will have some inquiries made, and you may call upon me in a week from to-day." I thanked him, and was shown out by a footman.

At the end of a week I called again, but was told that Mr. Gladstone was out of town. I had an interview with his private secretary, who treated the whole affair in a very different manner from what I expected. "Mr. Falsivir," he observed: "we have made inquiries in this matter, and we find that there was such a vessel as the 'Arctic Whale', and that she set sail on the day you mention; and, also, that there was amongst the crew a man of the name of John Falsivir; but we have further proof that the 'Arctic Whale' was wrecked and all hands drowned. That being so, we cannot entertain your discoveries, real or imaginary." I was very much surprised at this, and wanted to explain more about it, but I was cut short with the remark that it was too much like Bruce's Travels in Africa to go down. "Besides," he observed, "all the learned societies have proved the centre of the earth is a mass of molten lava; therefore it cannot be hollow."

When I left Mr. Gladstone's secretary, I was very down- hearted, though not despairing. I next visited the Archbishop of Canterbury; but by him my discoveries were treated with contempt, and, with a wave of his hand, he, in a somewhat excited voice, exclaimed, "It's all false, for if the earth was hollow and inhabited the Bible would have told us all about it." After this I applied to several of the learned societies, but to no purpose, for, in every instance, my discoveries ran foul of their theories.

At last I was compelled to give it up, for it was plain to me that, until another voyage was made and still further proof obtained, I was only being laughed at for my trouble. Every time I heard of a polar expedition about to start I volunteered, but from motives of jealousy was refused. All the captains of these intended polar expeditions would listen to me and take notes of all I informed them—and, I have no doubt, made use of them in their voyages—yet declined to take me as one of their crew. As may be supposed, all this was a sad drawback to me. I could not go to sea, for if I had done so I should have stood no chance at all, and I could not keep steady at bricklaying (my trade).

On the 10th of January, 1860, my wife died; and the year following I lost my youngest child—the girl born while I was at sea. In the spring of 1858 my two boys went to sea, and remained sailors till the summer of 1862, when they joined the American army, under General Grant, and were both killed at the storming of Fort Pillow. This, to me, was a sad blow. I fretted a great deal, and quite neglected to push my claims as a discoverer, but settled down in a quiet, dull sort of way to my trade.

For several years I lived at 15, Southampton Street, Strand, and in 1875 was at work at the Law Courts, where I met with an accident: the iron hook of the derrick-chain struck me on the head, and knocked me off the scaffold. I was so injured that I was six months in the hospital. Upon leaving that institution I discovered I was no longer fit for my trade, and was thus compelled to seek the shelter of the work-house, being sent by the Guardians of the Strand Union to the poor-house at Silver Street, Edmonton. At the present time of writing, I have been an inmate about ten years, as Mr. Jackson, the gatekeeper, will inform anyone who may make inquiries.

I have but little to add. Some gentlemen, hearing of me and my extraordinary adventures, called upon me; and, being convinced of the truth of my statements, resolved to lay them before the public, and so allow them to form their own opinions.

—JOHN FALSIVIR.



CHAPTER I.

IT is not everyone who has seen as much of the world as I have, or visited the parts I am about to describe; therefore, if I have the boldness to write a book of travels, I trust it will be admitted that I have good reason, since I am able to describe countries and people no other traveller has seen. At the same time, I admit there is but little to boast of beyond the journey there and back, for I must say, in all my journeyings, I have never been among savages, or in danger of being devoured either alive or dead—in fact, I have been treated with the greatest kindness and consideration. Therefore, I suppose, my account will not be considered so interesting as it would have been had I marvellous stories to relate of dangers by flood and field, of narrow escapes from death by savage beasts, or of cruel tortures by savage men. Not one of these dangers can I boast of; mine is but a plain, simple account of the parts of the earth I have visited, together with the inhabitants, their manners, laws, and customs. But, let me add, I am not an educated man, as I shall doubtless show; therefore I trust some latitude will be allowed me, and, in return, I will use my best endeavors to make my account as plain as possible, and to speak only of such things as I have seen or become convinced of.

I was born near Battle Bridge, on Thursday the 20th October, 1808. My father and mother were rope and twine spinners, and worked for a party of the name of Buckingham, near the Small-pox Hospital at Battle Bridge, as it was then called. Of my father I can remember but one thing, and that was drowning a white cat in the canal at Maiden Lane Bridge. My mother says I was not three years old at this time. After the death of my father, my mother put me out to nurse, and continued to get her living at twine spinning—that is, during the summer months; but, as she was now getting advanced in years and unable to stand the winters, she used to go into St. Pancras Workhouse during the cold weather, and take me with her.

Of my early days in the workhouse I can remember many little things, and I think I must have spent five winters there in all. I was, of course, separated from my mother, and well do I remember the scheme I used to adopt to see her. There was but one hour out of the twenty-four that it was possible for me to do so, viz., while Mr. Lee, the master, was cutting up the bread. I used to crawl on my hands and knees up to the open door, and then spring to my feet and run as fast as I was able. Of course he came out, knife in hand, and shouted to me to come back, but I heeded him not: I was round the corner in a moment, raised the large latch of the women's ward, and, panting, bounded to my mother's side; and I must say it was always a good half-hour before ever I was inquired after. Although I was very frequently threatened, I never was subjected to punishment.

At last, my mother's eye-eight getting so bad, she remained in the house altogether; and, at nine years old, I was put by the parish authorities to work at a cotton mill of some sort, but where I cannot say; I know we were taken every morning, and brought back at night, in charge of some man. My schooling had been but very little; in fact, I could scarcely read a word.

Work at the mill was not long for me. My brother Phil, who was many years older than myself, seeing I was getting useful, took me to work with him at Leeds Castle, in Kent, he being in the building line.

I might relate many stories of my boyhood days, but, as they were only such as happen to all boys, I shall refrain from doing so, simply saying that I worked for my brother several years, mostly in the neighborhood of Battle Bridge. It was about this time that my mother quite lost her eyesight. She lived, as a permanent inmate of St. Pancras Workhouse, to the age of 83, and died about 1842.

When I was twenty-one years of age, my brother Phil went out of his mind, and was soon afterwards taken to Hanwell Asylum, where he died. Not very long after, I, having a wish to go to sea, did so, and followed it, on and off, for many years.

When at sea, I think I must have been a great favorite with the captain, who was a north countryman, where they say all the pedlars come from, for I remember once being aloft longer than the captain thought necessary, upon which he shouted, "Now then, Falsivir, look sharp: remember you have not a hod of bricks playing with up there," (this was an allusion to my trade); and I made answer, "No, sir, nor a pedlar's pack."

"Come down, sir," he roared; this I did and was put under arrest, but was soon after let off and nothing more was said about it. After this, I and another committed ourselves in a far more serious manner. The ship was in harbor at the time, and we attempted, during the night, to desert, and stole the ship's boat for the purpose, but were detected by the marine on sentry, and ordered to come back, or be fired on. I did not want to go back, supposing we should be hung for deserting, and thinking we might as well be shot as hung; but, as my companion wished to return, we did so, and were placed under arrest.

The next morning I tried to make myself as comfortable as possible—for I expected no mercy—and, to pass away the time, borrowed a novel of the sentry to read. While so engaged, the captain passed the guns, between which I was a prisoner. Stopping short, and looking hard at me, he exclaimed, "Upon my soul, but you take matters coolly, Falsivir. Do you know you will be hanged?"

"I expect it, sir," was my answer.

"Oh! you do, do you? Well, perhaps I shall disappoint you;" and he walked on.

An hour after, to our surprise, We were released and ordered to go to our duty. A short time after this, a sailor was ordered up to be flogged. After he was stripped and tied up, he turned his head towards the captain, and said, "You don't do me justice, sir."

"How so?" demanded the captain.

"Falsivir deserted, and was not punished, while I am to receive two dozen for only drinking a little too much."

"Silence!" roared the captain: "do you compare yourself to Falsivir? Boatswain, do your duty, sir!"

From this it will be quite plain that I must have been a favorite with the captain.

Not long afterwards our ship was paid off and I got my discharge. I then got married and worked at my trade a year or two, but falling out of work I again went to sea, leaving my wife and two boys to receive my half-pay. Upon my return I found the children had increased to three, by the addition of a little girl, then about three months old. I, of course, demanded an explanation, and for my answer got a flood of tears, and a wish to know if I was without sin. Well, in the end I forgave her; but I went to sea again, and I am not sorry I did forgive her: it is one of the actions of my life I do not regret, for a sailor's wife is sadly neglected.

I shall pass over the remaining years, and come to the time when I joined the ill-fated expedition that was to give me a knowledge of the interior of the earth, and add another empire to the possessions of England—for of course she will claim it by right of discovery.

CHAPTER II.

IT was in the early spring of 1848 that I shipped on board the "Arctic Whale," commanded by Captain H. Vernon, a north countryman. The vessel was a three-masted ship, of about 700 tons, bound on a whaling cruise. I did not like this sort of life, but my knowing the captain—he having been lieutenant in the Royal Navy and served on board the same ship as I had—induced me to go out with him.

During the summer of 1848 we had bad luck, the winter before in the Arctic seas having been unusually severe. However, the ship being well provisioned, our captain determined to winter upon the north-eastern side of the Island of Spitzbergen, and somewhat nearer the pole than the eighty-third degree of north latitude. During the last of the daylight, we made things as comfortable as we possibly could, and, strange to say, had the good fortune to catch a large number of seals—over 2,000 in one day—and, in the course of seven days, as many as four big whales; in short, had the season permitted, we could have loaded our casks with oil, to say nothing of the bone and sealskins. But while we were busy loading our ship the ice was setting fast around us, so that by the time we really had a cargo worth returning with there was no getting out. It was no use lamenting. One thing was certain: if all went well the next summer, we should be able to return with a valuable cargo; so we made up our minds to be as cheerful as we possibly could.

Among the articles which our captain had on board was a small balloon, and plenty of coals and chemicals. His object in bringing the balloon was to take observations by it from as high a position as possible, in case we were surrounded by ice—his intention being to secure the balloon to the deck of the ship by ropes and let it rise to as great a height as his tackle would permit, and, after seeing all he could, draw it down. During the winter, we had no opportunity of using it, but we did in the spring.

I have spoken nothing as yet of the scenery of the part of the world we were then in as it appears during the long winter months, because I believe others have done it much better than I am able. But it did appear something wonderful! After coming on deck, and so on to the forecastle—the only part of the ship we had not wrapped up with sail-cloth—at midday, to see the stars shining as bright as if it were midnight; to look at the snow-covered ropes and rigging of the ship, their white outline contrasting so strangely with the dark blue star-lit heavens, where not a breath of wind stirred; your lips and eyelids, if you closed them, seeming fairly glued together with the intensity of the frost; all around as still as the grave, save, now and then, for the pitiful howl of the dogs, who seemed to feel the fearfully long hours of darkness as much as man did! Nor was the prospect better on either hand, for nothing but one apparently boundless field of rugged ice and snow met the gaze, its pure whiteness causing the blue of the heavens to appear still more dark, and us to wonder if the sun would ever return, and, with its warm rays, release us from our ice-bound prison.

Below deck everything had been done that could be done to exclude the cold: all round the sides sail-cloth was hung up, behind which we had stuffed plenty of moss; and the smallest possible opening was left for a door.

Every day we went through a routine of business, whether necessary or not, such as beating the snow from the sail that covered the upper deck, sweeping, and cleaning; then reading, drilling, singing songs, and play-acting—in short, everything that could be thought of to keep our energies from going to sleep. The captain amused himself in studying the heavens, and would point out the pole star nearly over our heads, while we would sit for hours and listen to his description of the stars, comets, and the great Northern Light so often visible.

It was during these long, hours of study that the captain formed the resolution of proceeding still farther north during the next summer, and, if he possibly could, reach the pole. He would say "I really believe we are farther north now than any ship has ever been. Another 600 miles would bring us to the pole, over which I will if possible hoist the flag of old England." I cannot say that many of us shared his enthusiasm. The truth was we were anxious to return home; not so our captain, as we shall see.

I believe it was the last day of January that we got the first positive streak of daylight, at about half-past eleven o'clock, and it continued from then until the 10th of March slowly, but steadily, to increase. On this day we, for the first time in nearly six months, saw the sun from the masthead, and, to say the least, we worshipped it. And who could wonder? Let anyone be in our condition, and I think he would have done the same. There was one thing I thought remarkable, and that was, for the first five or six days after the sun rose, the weather was colder than at any time during the winter, and it froze harder! Our captain said it was what he expected, and tried to make us understand the reason for this; but we paid little attention to him, thinking more about getting out of our present condition than aught else. But if we were anxious to escape, not so the ice to let us; for day after day passed without any sign of its breaking up.

Weeks and months passed in this fashion. It was now the latter end of June, and still we were icebound, though melting fast. On the land the ice and snow had disappeared, and the moss had grown several inches. All this month we had seen swarms of geese and ducks flying towards the pole; a something that set our captain thinking. We had been several miles inland, but discovered nothing worth notice, except some traces of iron and copper, leaving the captain to suppose both of these might be found in abundance if searched for.

On the last day of June, the balloon, with the captain in it, went up for the first time. When we drew him down again, he informed us that in a few days we should be free, for he had discovered open water to the eastward about twenty miles distant; and, it was his opinion, the ice was breaking up rapidly and flowing southward. "If so," said he, "we must follow it at the end of the summer. If we did so now we should soon be in the midst of it, and crushed. So, my men, our best course is, to either stay here till the ice has passed us and so left the sea open, or, if we can see a chance, push our way through northward, till we are fairly behind it, where we shall find open water; for I believe, as the ice flows south, it takes the cold with it, leaving the pole free, and therefore warm; and I think the ducks and geese know it. At any rate, I shall act upon this supposition."

During the next few days we were busy preparing to set sail, but the ice was in no hurry to let us out, and thus all July passed away. Each day we could see that the distance between us and open water was getting less; but it was not till the 1st of August that the ice about our ship gave way, and swung round to float off with the crushing grinding masses that were everywhere visible, pressing southward. Had we not been protected by a rocky neck of land we too should have been swept away with it, and our doom quickly sealed. But it went, and we were safe; and the weather became much warmer immediately.

On the 4th of August, the wind being favorable, we set sail, bearing N E by E. Even now, great care was necessary to steer clear of the floating ice. For the next fourteen days the winds were so light and contrary that we made but little progress; but after this we saw no more ice, and a breeze springing up we made better headway.

On the 24th of August the man on the look-out called "Land on the starboard bow!", and immediately there was a rush to look at it. I shall never forget how agitated our captain was, when he saw land: he fairly trembled with excitement; and, as I passed, I heard him mutter "By heavens, there's a polar continent; and I have discovered it!" As we neared the shore, the captain ordered the lead to be hove, to try our depth. While this was being done, he was busy examining the land through the glass. After we had got somewhat nearer, the captain informed us he could see trees of some sort, and either grass or green moss, but no sign of snow; and added, "There is far more sign of vegetation here than further south." After some little searching, we found a good harbour and cast anchor, after which the captain went on shore, taking me and some others with him. On landing, we were greatly surprised to find a country quite capable, so far as soil and climate were concerned, of being cultivated—that is, to a certain extent. It was the captain's opinion that the winters here were no worse than in Iceland, fifty miles from the coast. After making several short excursions inland in different directions, and taking some observations from a good altitude by the aid of the balloon, he came to the conclusion there was land all the way to the pole; and it was, he said, not more than 150 miles in a straight line. He resolved to undertake the journey on foot. For this purpose he chose ten of the ship's company, out of fifteen volunteers, to accompany him; the remainder to stay and take charge of the ship.

On the 29th of August we started on our journey towards the pole, taking several dogs with us, our guns and ammunition, and our balloon, folded up, with certain chemicals for the purpose of making gas, in case we wished to use it. All these things were carried in a light truck, made like a boat with wheels, which was drawn by our dogs, with a little assistance from ourselves. The sun was by this time more than two-thirds towards the horizon, and every day visibly sinking; but the weather was mild and no sign of frost. As we journeyed on, we were surprised at the level appearance of the land, and the abundance of game, such as deer, foxes, hares, ducks, and geese, besides a number of small birds. There was likewise traces of bears, but we saw none. In the first twenty-four hours we made about thirty miles, leaving us about 120 to the pole. During our first day's journey we crossed two rivers flowing southeast, and when we camped it was by the side of a stream which flowed south and evidently emptied itself into one of the rivers we had crossed. As we journeyed we found the trees increase in size, and grass very abundant. We saw some wild fruit like blackberries, and along the wet borders of the stream a great quantity of huckleberries, of which we eat a good many. During the next twenty-four hours we made another thirty miles, our journey being interrupted much by small streams: we saw no large rivers. On the 31st of August and the 1st of September we were compelled to lay up, owing to the heavy rains; but on the 2nd we made about ten miles, the country appearing much the same, though evidently improving both as regards climate and vegetation. On the 3rd we saw some mountains; the land, being generally more hilly, caused us to make slow progress, and again we did not do more than ten miles, which rather disheartened us, and the captain feared we should have to give it up, for we felt certain we could never climb the mountains that were before us.

On the 4th of September we discovered a pass by which we got to the other side of the mountains without much trouble. Here water appeared very scarce: no rivers or streams of any sort; the ground, too, seemed parched as if for want of rain. From this we concluded no rain had fallen here, although it had delayed us on the other side of the mountains. We had made about ten miles here when our progress was suddenly stopped, for we found ourselves upon what appeared to have been the bank of a vast dried-up lake, or inland sea, but of such a depth that none of us could discover the least trace of bottom. The sides, as far down as we could see, were smooth and regular, and nearly perpendicular: far too steep for either man or beast to descend. As may be supposed, we gazed with amazement at the strange scenery before us. The question was:—Is this a dried-up lake, or the cone of some extinct volcano? for as far as we could discern by the aid of our glass it had such an appearance a good twenty miles on either hand. Again, what was the meaning of this strange circle of such mysterious depth?—for circle it certainly was if it continued in the same regular bent form it had on either hand of us; and if it did it could not be less than 250 or 300 miles in circumference. How deep is it? was a question we asked of each other, over and over again. We often directed our glasses downwards, but black darkness was all we could discover.

At length we resolved to camp for the—I was going to say night, but, of course, night or darkness had not set in, nor would it for some time, as the sun was still above the horizon—but as our watches told us it was night in old England, we so considered it, and prepared to rest accordingly. After we had made everything comfortable, and before we laid down to sleep, we had a long argument upon the nature of the strange circle by our side, for we were camped upon the very brink of it. In the captain's opinion, it was the cone of an extinct volcano. The mate said it was a dried-up lake. For myself I could not think it either; it was too large for the first, and too deep for the second. "Then what is it," asked several, "if neither one nor the other?" That, I said, I could not tell, unless there was some way or method of reaching the bottom.

"I will tell you a way," said the mate, "if any of you have the courage to make the attempt; and that is by the balloon, with ballast enough to sink you down; upon reaching the bottom, throw out the ballast, and you will rise again to the top."

"Yes!" exclaimed first one, then the other, "but suppose when we come up the wind does not bring us back again to this spot? or suppose, and suppose—"

They were going on in this way when I interrupted by saying: "It's no good supposing; there has been enough of that; give me the balloon, and I will descend and leave the rest to chance. We have come all the way from England, and now want to discover the north pole; and we find it, not a mountain of ice or polar sea or mass of iron, as some of us have thought, but, as far as we now see, a fathomless hole in the earth. If we return without making some effort to unfathom the mystery, we shall be laughed at, and if we reach the bottom, who can tell but we may be able to add much valuable information to science. And I do not believe it is more than one or two miles in depth. Look at the sun: it appears no more than the height of a man above the horizon, and is hourly becoming less. Now, if that valley was only half a mile deep I believe it would be dark at the bottom."

My argument appeared to carry some weight with it, for, after a short consultation with the captain, it was agreed to unpack the balloon, manufacture some gas, and allow me to make the attempt to reach the bottom of the valley.

During the hours allowed us to sleep, and of which most of my companions were availing themselves, I was restless, turning about and thinking of the task I had imposed upon myself. I naturally wondered what I should do, after my balloon arose from the bottom of the valley, if the wind should carry me across to the other side, for no arrangements had as yet been made. I felt certain it would do so, if it did not shift, and the breeze was coming straight from behind us. At length I fell asleep. After a few hours I was awoke by one of my companions, who informed me that breakfast was ready, and the balloon was being prepared. I arose, packed up my sleeping bag, washed, and had my breakfast, after which I received my instructions from the captain—or rather (I might say) we held a consultation respecting what was best to be done; and, first of all, as it would be at least three o'clock in the afternoon (that is, if there was such a part of the six months daylight as afternoon) before the balloon would be ready, it was decided to send out two exploring parties, one to the right hand, the other to the left; not only to render me assistance if I needed it, but to ascertain if the basin-like shape continued in the same manner as where we then stood, and to see if there was any way of descending into the valley.

If anyone had asked me what my thoughts were, as I continued to pace to and fro past my companions (who were busily employed in manufacturing gas for my balloon) I could not have told them. I only know I again and again directed my gaze across and down the sides of that dark mysterious pit, and that I often repeated "Wonderful, wonderful!" Sometimes the breeze seemed to die away, then suddenly spring up again, but always from the south, reminding me of the trade winds just before you fairly enter them; by the south I mean the quarter we had come from, for one thing is certain, if we were only one degree from the pole, it could hardly come from any other quarter. I own I should have felt much easier had I been sure the wind would blow from the other side of the valley when I wanted to return; but I would chance it.

Time was passing, and my balloon was nearly ready. My sleeping bag and provisions were put into the car, for, as the captain said: "When you come up you may be blown right across, and as we cannot probably get round before three times twenty-four hours, you will have to camp on the other side, and await our coming up. And as we shall divide, one party going one way, the rest the other, we are sure to fall in with you, after which we will make our way back here, and so to our ship as fast as possible, while daylight lasts."

He likewise gave me some information respecting the route he should take, but, occupied as my mind was with the undertaking I was about to enter upon, I paid but little heed to what he said, and now I don't remember one word of it. Had I studied the countenances of my companions and their silence as I moved among them, I should have read in their faces the opinion they had of my mad undertaking; but I did not. The captain appeared cheerful and talkative enough, but not so the men; but then he, I believe, was a man who thought no more of my life than he did of the Eider Ducks he shot: he wished me to ascertain the depth of the valley—he getting the credit of any discovery I might make—and so encouraged me to make the attempt; but I now often think how strangely he was out in his calculation, for I alone am the survivor of that ill-fated expedition.

Strange and incredible as it may appear, I trust none will be presumptuous enough to doubt my word until they have visited either the north or south poles. It is an easy thing for some people to sit by their firesides and read the accounts of travellers, then, casting the book aside, exclaim: "It's a lie! I don't believe a word of it!" To all such I can only say, "Be it so. I expect neither honor nor profit from what I now write, so care nothing for your opinion. I have no great name to lose or wealth to sacrifice, so do your worst."

But to my narrative.

CHAPTER III.

THE balloon was ready; a dozen strong hands held it as I stepped into the little car and closed the netting; after which my companions, still holding the car with one hand, shook mine with the other.

I must here describe what had been done for me: the balloon was heavily ballasted, I might say almost on an even balance; still there was some little rising power (at least it was so supposed). In the car, besides ballast, was my sleeping bag, some food, a revolver, with powder and ball, a telescope, a box of matches, an axe, and some other trifles, a compass—apparently in very bad working order, as were all of them—a kettle to boil water in, some writing paper, and black lead pencils; these last were for me to make a sketch of what I saw, if it were possible for me to do so. In my pocket I had a Bible and a small book on astronomy, and, last of all, Ben handed me a plug of tobacco. As I finished winding my watch,

"Now," said the captain, as soon as he saw I was nearly ready, "let the balloon drift a few miles across before, you descend, and don't waste your gas. Now, when you are ready, say so."

Standing up in the car I fastened my fur suit well on, for I expected I should find it very cold; then, taking a good bite off the plug of tobacco handed me by Ben, I let the rest drop into the car, for the captain at this moment handed me a drop of brandy in a tin cup, remarking as he did so, "there is a bottle in your provision basket." I nodded thanks as I drank the brandy, replaced my quid, and then, with a hearty "God bless you all" by way of signal, I was let go. Very slowly I arose, but drifted fast; had I not been close to the edge of the chasm, I should have dragged along the ground. I saw my companions gazing after me as I waved them a last farewell, and then I began to look after my balloon, which I found was increasing in speed in a surprising manner, the farther I got from our starting-place, and showing an inclination to descend. I think I must have been four or five miles from my companions, as I could not make them out fairly, even with my telescope, when suddenly—and apparently without cause—the balloon began to go down with fearful rapidity.

I can scarcely describe the state of alarm I was in. I quickly laid the telescope down, intending to throw out some of my ballast, but leaning over noticed the top of my balloon was pressed inwards, as if a great weight was upon it; at least, I concluded so by the manner in which the sides were bulged out, and it was all I had time to notice, for the next moment I shot into darkness as black as ink.

I now hesitated to throw out the ballast, lest the balloon should turn upside down. "Oh, heavens! what does, what can it mean?" I gasped, as I took the quid of tobacco out of my mouth and let it fall. Where was I going? Then a giddiness seized me, a tightness across my forehead and a gasping as if for want of air, but perhaps from the super-abundance of it. Be that as it may, my senses left me as I sank down in the car, which at this moment was descending at the rates of 100 miles per hour. [This calculation I made some time afterwards; and that likewise that from the time I left my companions until the time I became insensible was not more than fifteen minutes; and now that I have been the journey a second time, I feel certain that it was terror alone that caused me to lose my senses; nor need it to be wondered at. Let any number place themselves in the position I was, and not one in a hundred could have retained their reasoning faculties.] The reader will doubtless ask where I was going, and I am at a loss to tell. It is best to state things as they really are, or to speak of them as they appeared to me when I recovered my senses, which I did some five hours after I lost them.

When I awoke to reason I found myself in the midst of darkness, blacker than anything imagination can picture; but whether I was travelling up, down, right, or left, I could form no idea—in fact, for a long time I could not tell whether I was moving or not. But this I believe was caused by the slowness with which my senses returned; for at length I did comprehend that the balloon was travelling, although in what direction I could not conceive.

I remember I felt I was going to destruction; that death was my doom; and I wished I had died when I lost my senses, as all would have been over. But I tried, and did at last succeed, in resigning myself to the will of Providence; After this I fell into a better frame of mind, and began to reason with myself to see if it were possible for me to ascertain where I was journeying.

Then, feeling stiff and cramped in my uncomfortable position, I turned to ease my limbs, and in doing so I felt the different things in the car. Then I thought of the brandy in my basket; and it is not to be wondered at if I drank some, though only a little, for I am in no way partial to much drink; after this I felt better, and began to ask myself some questions. Among the rest, How long have I been travelling; and Am I still descending? As to the last, I felt it must be so.

I next wondered what time it was, and took out my watch to ascertain if it was going; placing it to my ear, I found it was ticking away quite regularly. By this I knew I had not been travelling for thirty hours—that being the time my watch would go, and I remembered winding it up just before I started. I had a mind to open it and try and feel the time; but fearing I might injure it, I did not do so.

I thought of lighting a match, but, knowing fire was dangerous in a balloon, refrained.

Then I drank some more brandy, and whether it was this, or a callous indifference as to what became of myself, or downright weariness I know not, but I fell asleep, and so continued for several hours—I should say quite ten.

When I awoke I was much refreshed, though somewhat stiff from laying so long in one position. Again taking out my watch and holding it to my ear I found it was still going. I next drank a little more brandy, and then fell to wondering as to where I was going, for going I was.

Presently I thought, and afterwards felt sure, that I heard noises, like the howling of the wind, and, as this—slowly, it is true, but plainly—increased, I felt certain I was nearing either the bottom of the pit I had entered or the earth somewhere. As the darkness was as black as ever, I began once more to feel alarm at the danger I was in. Then an idea entered my head to throw out my ballast, for I reasoned, "What is the use of my reaching ground? I could not live in such darkness as I am in, if I landed in safety" (a thing I very much doubted my ability to do without some light), so I considered I might as well float as long as fate would let me, and then perish, as to do so now; besides, we all have a feeling that so long as there is life there is hope.

As the noises were still increasing, I commenced to throw out my ballast, after which the sounds grew gradually fainter, and I heard no more of them. Well, I thought, I can do nothing more but wait, and ascertain what fate has in store for me. About this time two ideas entered my head. One was that I was going right through the earth, the other that I was only going round and round in the valley in circles; but I considered, if that were so, I ought to be able to see the stars. Then a terrible thought came into my head, that, perhaps, I was blind. I trembled at the dreadful idea. Again I took out my watch and listened; it was still going, but ticking rather fainter (which it always did when nearly run down), and this showed I had been in my present dangerous condition, for thirty hours. That the balloon should bear me up for so long a time I thought most wonderful, and concluded I could float but little longer; but if I were descending all the time of course there was nothing to wonder at.

I was again giving way to despair and lowness of spirits (caused as much, I think, by the want of food, for I had ate nothing since I started, as the danger I was in), when, for the I believe thousandth time, I strained my eyes to see if anything was discernible, and felt sure something like light was visible directly over head, but rather faint, as if thick clouds were between me and the light.

Pushing myself as far over as the net work would let me, I gazed with an eagerness scarcely imaginable, until I felt certain that not only there was light, and my eyesight still left to me, but that I was rising out of the valley as rapidly as I had entered it; my balloon I saw was not bulged out at the sides, but stretched out to its full length. I shall never forget the sigh of relief I gave as I became convinced I was once more returning to (as I then supposed) the surface of the earth; nor will it be thought unmanly in me when I confess I sat down and cried the sweetest tears I ever shed.

But my moments for this kind of relief were few, for daylight increased so rapidly I could scarcely comprehend the cause; fancying myself coming out of the same place I had entered. Once more leaning as far over as I could, I looked upward, and, to my great surprise, saw, right over my head, what appeared a large moon, obscured by fog and vapors. After gazing in amazement and wonder for a moment, I began to look about me right and left, the daylight increasing rapidly all the time.

At length, to my great astonishment, I could see it had become as light as day, also what appeared like a wall of cloud on one side of me, and rising apparently up to the heavens.

I strained my eyes until blinded by tears, caused by the glare of daylight, but could not be certain if it were clouds or mountains. I tried if I could better comprehend things by the aid of my telescope, but without success. After a few minutes spent in restless astonishment, first gazing up and down, then right and left, I began to understand that I was still in the same mysterious valley; and that what appeared clouds or mountains was merely the sides of it. But what to make of the strange sun in the heavens above me, shedding as it did both light and warmth, I knew not. I thought, when I entered this place, that the sun was only a few degrees above the horizon. Now this strange sight was directly over my head. Presently, turning about, I discovered that the cloud-like appearance I had seen on the right was now beneath me, and fast disappearing on the one hand, becoming more visible on the other. By this I thought I was nearly out of the pit, and fast drifting towards the open country. As may be supposed, all I could do was to gaze and wonder, as well I might. Suddenly I thought I would look at my compass, and did so, but could make nothing of it, for it would point only downwards. Laying it aside, I looked around me, and soon after found I was clear of the place I had been in.

Finding it very warm and being more at my ease, I took off my fur coat and ate some victuals; after which I saw I was fast drifting over a country not only inhabited but well timbered and watered, for I could see both rivers and forests, as well as houses and farms. I now began to wonder if I ought to descend, but did not like to do so, being terribly confused by the novelty of my situation. But I was not to be left long in doubt, for I found that my balloon, which had by this time left the pit I had come out of quite 100 miles behind me, was fast nearing the earth, so that I had no choice. I observed that the sun above me appeared slightly eclipsed, more so than when I first saw it. I again directed my glass downwards and could see people running about, apparently men, women and children (as I took them to be), dressed somewhat like the highland Scotch. I also saw what appeared to me as men pushing perambulators with children in them, but could comprehend nothing fairly. Half-an-hour after, I had descended to within 150 feet of the ground, and to my great terror and alarm saw running after me about fifty of the greatest monsters in the form of men that I could have dreamed of. After running a long distance, they suddenly paused and made a great shout, and then began to throw large round stones, some of which nearly hit my balloon. Seeing this, and fearing I should be killed, I commenced to throw everything out of the car that was at all weighty. This lightened the balloon somewhat, and I got away, the huge monsters pausing to pick up what I had thrown out.

For some distance after this, my course lay parallel with a good, straight road, down which there was coming after me about a dozen gigantic men, pushing large perambulators (as I supposed them to be), in which were either men and women of my own size, or children of the giants. Once more my balloon was fast descending, but, to my relief, I found I was rapidly nearing a city. This gave me confidence, and made me think I was safe; for I have always found that, although people in country parts will more readily relieve a beggar in distress than people in cities, yet, should either their fears, prejudice, or superstition be aroused, they will more readily maltreat him, the which has made me think that country people are more ignorant as a rule than city people. But I was still in great terror and alarm, so much so that I could not look after my balloon. At last it got stopped by two large trees, the car being at this time not more than ten feet from the ground, and in a good-sized field, alongside of the road. Throwing open the gate, my pursuers entered and ran up close to me, the giants still pushing their perambulator-like carriages. Making sure I should be killed, and being determined not to fall without a fight, I cut my netting and tumbled out of the car as nimbly as I was able, drew my revolver, and, placing my back against one of the trees, shouted that I would shoot the first one who molested me. Whether it was the tone of my voice, or my gestures, I know not, but certain it was that all the monsters who were not pushing carriages kept a respectable distance, and those who were pushing the carriages appeared to be controlled by the people of my own size who were seated in them.

The whole scene was a strange one, and I shall never forget it. My balloon was over my head, wedged in the trees, and I with my back against one of them, revolver in hand, my hair blown about by the wind; and before me, in a half-circle, the strangest people I had ever seen. Their numbers were increasing every minute. There were giants of all heights up to thirty-five feet; and many men and women of my own size. The giants were all of a copper color, but those of my own size were, apparently, painted in all the colors of the rainbow, though, if possible, more brilliantly. As I stood at bay, I thought that the crowd surrounding me looked like a mob who had got a thief in their midst, whom no one cared to lay hands upon, but all determined that he shall not escape, they having sent for a policeman, who is on his way. One monster just before me, with a head of hair frightfully neglected, mouth and eyes wide open, had my tea- kettle on the end of his little finger; another held my provision basket in the same manner. Some five or six were closely examining my fur suit, and a group beside me were evidently watching an opportunity to tear down my balloon; but were either afraid or not allowed to touch it.

I was surrounded in this manner about half an hour. During this time I discovered that, no matter how much strength the giants might possess, they were entirely under the control of the beautifully-painted people of my own size. I saw several of the latter strike the giants about the legs, driving them back howling with pain. Just as I was beginning to wonder how much longer I was to be made a show of, I observed all of them to be somewhat moved, and to turn and look towards the gate. Presently there was an opening made, and up came one of the perambulator- like carriages, pushed by two giants dressed very showily, in clothes ornamented with a number of different metals, cut in various shapes and highly polished. Seated in this carriage was a man a few inches taller than myself, or about six feet three or four inches; his face was brilliantly painted in different colors; his forehead, neck, and ears were the finest and most glossy black I had ever seen; his cheek and lips were a splendid scarlet, as were his chin and eyelids close up to the eyebrows. The eyebrows and moustache were black, but the beard (a large one) was a golden color or amber; his eyes were likewise black. His hands were white and delicate, with the exception of one or two fingers which were a bright yellow and green; in short, all the colors were as bright and beautiful as those of a humming bird. As soon as the carriage stopped he got out, and I could see at once he was a person of some consequence, for all the giants went down upon their knees, the people of my own size standing quiet. Respectfully approaching to where I stood he said something unintelligible to me, and then made signs and pointed to the sun, but I did not understand him. He asked those of his own size about him some questions, and by their gestures I could see they were describing my flight and their chasing my balloon. As they were talking my balloon slipped from the trees and fell at my feet, hiding me for a moment or two from their sight, but I soon disentangled myself. The gas had all escaped owing to the balloon being so torn.

The new arrival again addressed me for a minute or two, and then, in a voice of authority, said something to those about him, whereupon the giant with my kettle crept up close on his knees and laid it down at my feet, as did all of them who had anything of mine. By this I saw I was not going to be hurt, so I put up my revolver. He then made me some signs to get into the carriage, which I thought it best to do; but first I took my brandy bottle from the car, it being fortunately unbroken, and drank from it. I likewise had something to eat out of my basket, the contents of which were not lost owing to a giant having caught it in its descent. After this, thinking it best to be on good terms with these people, especially the giants (of whom I stood in great dread), I resolved to divide what I had amongst them. My kettle I returned to the one I had it from and my provision basket to him who caught it. My plug of tobacco I offered to one of my own size, and I shall not forget his fashion of taking it. Picking the leaf of a plant, he wrapped it around finger and thumb, and then, gingerly taking the tobacco, bent his body so that it could not possibly come in contact with any part of his dress or person, and slowly brought it up to his nose. Nor can I easily forget the look of disgust he gave as he let it fall, plainly showing that he knew nothing about tobacco, at which I wondered, for at this time I still fancied I was upon the surface of the earth, but in some foreign land I had never heard of, yet how I got there I could not tell; and I fancied there was no part of the civilised world but knew all about tobacco. I did not laugh at the time, but have often done so since.

Meanwhile the personage who had addressed me stood coolly looking on with folded arms, betraying neither surprise nor emotion of any sort, although I could perceive he was in deep thought. As soon as I had made an end of giving and eating, he once more made signs for me to enter the carriage, which I did with much fear and astonishment. My head ached fearfully, and I scarcely knew whether I was awake or not, although I saw and remembered many things. I recollect the tone of voice with which he ordered the two giants (who I found out afterwards were his servants) to push the carriage. I remember that none of the crowd followed us. I made a calculation that the giants pushed us, along a most beautiful road, at the rate of twenty miles an hour, although the journey was short. On the way I saw some giants mending the roads, and others working on the fields. I saw a man standing on his head. I likewise noticed that everything I saw growing was planted in rings, one ring inside another.

We passed cart-like vehicles and trucks loaded with merchandise; but all worked by giants. Not a horse did I see anywhere. Soon we entered a city, the streets of which were in circles, and the houses, which were built of wood and most beautifully carved, standing singly, all of which were two stories only. But I saw no houses in the city such as the giants could live in. [I afterwards found that these people did not live in the towns or cities, but in the outskirts, a place set apart for them. And they were not allowed to walk in the streets of the town, unless engaged upon some business for their masters. But I shall tell more about this later.] I was amazed to see what a number of people there were painted [it was not paint, but the natural color of their skins, but this I did not know then]. The women I thought the most dazzling creatures imagination could picture; but the colors of the children, as I took them to be, appeared dull and somewhat faded. Here again I made a great mistake, for those I took to be children were really old men and women; but more of this by-and-bye.

After being pushed a mile or two into the city, and proportionately stared at, we arrived at a building large enough even for the giants to live in. Just before reaching this house, which was the palace and residence of the King and his prime minister, I saw a carriage pushed by two giants, in which were some six or seven men of my own size, all standing upon their heads, which, as one may suppose, I thought very hard to do, and every moment I expected to see them tumble out and break their necks. Pushing us up to the entrance, the giants stopped and wiped their faces—for it was very warm. As they did so, a man, handsomely dressed, and whose face and hands were of marvellous colors, came and let down the steps. He acted in a ceremonious manner towards him in whose company I was, and formed a circle by swinging his right arm slowly round; but he was evidently astonished at seeing me. Upon receiving some instructions from my conductor, he motioned me to follow, which I did. I was then led into a sort of hall, the walls and furniture of which were beautifully carved and inlaid with different metals, all highly polished. I had but little time to notice details, and less inclination, for my head was aching sadly. I was next directed to sit down upon a chair beside the table (in the hall), where, placing my arms upon the table, I laid my weary head upon them; nor did I look up, although I was sensible that many came and went, gazing at me, talking both to and about me, but I heeded them not.

At length one came and felt my pulse. By this I concluded he was a doctor, so raised my head and told him how I felt, but he understood nothing I had said. After a good deal of talking to those about him, I was beckoned to rise and follow one of them, which I did. When he had led me to a bedroom which I will describe later, he made motions for me to undress and go to bed; and I was quite willing to do so, for I felt very ill. My attendant left me for a short time, during which I looked about and into one or two other places and apartments. I was, however, able to notice little except that, so far as ease and comfort were concerned, there was nothing wanting.

I had barely laid down, when in came the same man that had brought me there, carrying in his hand a cup (which I afterwards found to be of polished iron) in which was a draught of some sort sent, probably, by him who had felt my pulse. I did not hesitate, but drank it at once, and then laid down again, for I felt quite sure, from what I had seen of these people, that they would not hurt me, or allow the giants to do so. After I had drunk the draught I fell into a quiet sleep; neither was I troubled with bad dreams, as I feared I should be, after the excitement I had undergone.

When I awoke I felt a little refreshed; but it was night. I well remember my first thought, on opening my eyes, was What is to-day? and next, Where am I? Then, as in a dream, all my adventures came to my recollection with a rush. I say like a dream, for I felt that I must have been, or was, dreaming. I remember I did not move hand or foot, only opened my eyes, and lay thinking, or trying to think.

There was no lamp burning in my room, but a mellow sort of light came in at the window, as if it were moonlight. At one moment, all I had gone through came upon my memory with a force that bewildered me; the next, I could remember nothing distinctly; then a confused heap of thought came into my head, in which giants, painted people, balloons, and pitch darkness seemed jumbled up together. This I afterwards thought surprising, because while I slept I had no disturbing thoughts. But I soon fell into a quiet state of repose again, and so continued till nearly morning.

Upon my waking a second time I started, then sat up, and commenced to rub my eyes. Yes, I was fairly awake now; but where was I? I slipped out of the bed and walked towards the window, which I examined carefully, my mind full of fear and wonder. Then I looked through the—yes, reader—glass upon the scene before me, then upwards, and saw what appeared to me like the Aurora Borealis, only instead of the bright pointed rays of light darting upwards, it was in this instance in the form of a rainbow reversed, and part (as I supposed) behind me, which I could not see because of the building, and so brilliant was its light no moon could surpass it. Nor was this all, for at a greater distance, right through this northern light appearance, and yet seemingly mixed up with it, was the most gorgeous golden light I ever saw, somewhat lined or shaded a little like the moon, but upon a scale many hundred times larger. "Wonderful, wonderful!" I exclaimed, "but wherever I be?" Then I thought I would look at the stars, and my eyes quickly travelled the whole expanse before me as far as I could see, but not a star could I discern. With a sigh, I turned to examine the window, thinking: "It's no use, I must be dreaming. And yet I can pinch myself and feel the pain; I can reason, and can see plainly this is a glass window (and strong glass too); I can see it opens like two doors, and that there is a garden, and that the breeze moves the trees; and I can hear what sounds like the neighing of a small pony (although, if it is a pony, it must be a very little one); so I cannot be dreaming." I thought I once more heard the distinct neigh of the pony, but in another part of the garden, as if it had broken loose and was running about.

Presently, observing there was a balcony, I tried to find the window-fastening, and succeeded. I opened it, and stepped out into the clear, cool night air, which I felt the more as I was only in my shirt and drawers. Then, as I again scanned the heavens, as far as the angles of the building would allow me, to my great surprise I saw that what I had supposed to be the Northern Light was a halo, which surrounded some large dark round object—less dark on the near edge—directly over my head; but no stars could I see. "Strange," I thought: "I have visited most parts of the world, but I have never seen a sight like this; and I have noted the stars a little. At any rate, I know Jack and his team. If I could only see that, I should have something to guide me; but no, not one;" and, with a sigh, I turned in and shut the window, the voice of the pony sounding closer under it. I then crept into bed, for I felt cold. At the same moment another sound met my ears, just outside my room door, which led me to think someone was standing sentry over me. I was not mistaken, as I afterwards found.

Covering myself up with the bed clothes, which were more like silk than anything else, I commenced to reason with myself. I could arrive at no settled conclusion as to my whereabouts; all was conjecture; yet one thing was certain, viz., that I had descended into the earth, and had travelled for over thirty hours in total darkness, but at what speed I was at a loss to tell. If my starting and exit were anything to go by it must have been fearfully rapid, and my journey many hundreds of miles. Whether I was through the earth or inside it I could not satisfactorily decide. I thought that I must be inside; yet I could hardly keep to the idea. There were so many things to confound it. "For," I argued, "if I am inside, where does the light come from? for light there is; and if on the outside, whereabouts, and what has become of the stars? Again, if I am on the outside, whence these singular people, and this strange light in the heavens both now and yesterday? and further, if I am on the outside of the earth, I am most certainly not in the cold climate in which I started, but in a warm country."

After a time I came to the conclusion that I was really in the middle of the earth, and not upon the surface; and, if so, what a discovery I had made! My reasons for thinking thus were as follows: When I started I descended rapidly, and when I came out of the hole it was equally swift; now, if I had travelled the number of hours I had at the same swift rate, I must have journeyed 3,000 miles at least; but, as I knew from what I had heard the captain say that the earth was 8,000 miles thick, I could not have gone half way, much less all the distance, through it. Then, again, I thought, how could that be possible? Our skipper says the world goes round; if it does the people on the inside, when they reach a certain point, would all tumble off, or be like flies on a ceiling; and yet I know they don't fall off on the outside, so why should they here?

As I so thought, I observed how much lighter it had got; and I again got out of bed to look round. Opening the window, I saw, right over my head, that the near side or edge of the dark ball looked like a new moon, only larger, and, so far as light was concerned, as brilliant as a like portion of the sun itself. I was astounded indeed, and could not take my eyes away, but stood and watched till they ached again with the glare of increasing light, and my neck felt as if I should never get it right, through holding my head so far back to have a good upward gaze. "Is it possible," I sighed, "that this is the dawn of day? Well, I see it, but I cannot understand it. I must not think too much, or my brain will become so muddled I shall not know what I am doing; and God knows I have need of all my reasoning faculties, so I had better submit to his will and leave things to explain themselves."

CHAPTER IV.

I NOW, as I lay, commenced to examine the furniture and general appearance of my apartment. It was but little different to what was to be seen every day in a nobleman's house in England, except that everything was most beautifully inlaid with metal of different colours. In some instances, wood was used with the metal, either for cheapness, as I then supposed, or for effect, there perhaps being no metal of the particular color required. The floor, ceiling, and walls were likewise most beautifully inlaid, and were really wonderfully done. Among other things, I noticed a circle of metals (apparently iron, brass, and copper), about three feet in diameter, let into the floor, just inside the door. Inside the circle there were some characters inserted of differently coloured metals, having much the appearance of shorthand. The ground colour of the floor was bright blue, the ceiling a pea green, and the walls a darker green. These colours I at first supposed to be paint, but afterwards discovered they were the natural colour of the wood. As I lay there looking about me, I supposed the building to be one of stone, lined with wood instead of plaster, but I afterwards discovered there was no stone used in its construction. It was built entirely of wood, as were all their houses, the timber being rendered fire-proof by being first soaked in some solution, but what I never found out.

Having taken a good survey of the room and furniture, I began to wonder how long I should lie there undisturbed. It was now broad daylight, and I could hear sounds as of people moving about; so, thinking I might be soon aroused, I once more got out of bed and began to dress myself.

Presently, and before I was quite dressed, there was a sound at my room door, and then it opened (not by hinges, but by sliding into the partition), and a man entered whose face and hands were of the same gorgeous colors as those I had seen the day before, and at whom (my mind being now more at ease) I took a long, searching gaze, though with some fear and wonder. His behavior I thought rather strange, for, upon entering, he stood fairly in the centre of the circle I have mentioned, and said something which I did not understand; then, swinging his arm round slowly in a circle, he stood very erect with his arms folded.

I answered him in this fashion: "Sir, I cannot understand your words, nor do I comprehend who or what you are, but if you can talk English, or can send someone to me who can, I have no doubt but we shall soon be able to understand each other."

At these words, he looked very straight into my eyes, and said something as unintelligible as before, finally making motions for me to follow him, which I did, after hastily finishing my dressing, feeling as one would feel if he were in doubt whether his conductor was a human being or a spectre. As I followed, I looked right and left, as well as at my conductor, but, with so hasty a glance, I could only see that the appearance of everything was grand and noble—everywhere inlaid with metals. We passed several men, like my conductor, in the halls and stairways, who looked very hard at me, and appeared as much surprised at me as I at them.

Presently, my guide pushed a door back, by sliding it into a partition, and, going just inside, spoke, making a circle in the air with his outstretched arm. I heard someone answer, but could not see who, because my conductor rather blocked up the doorway. After a few more words he stepped further into the room, and turning round, motioned me to enter. As I did so I heard a little pony give a loud neigh; and you can imagine my surprise to see a small horse, no larger than an Italian greyhound, seated in a lady's lap, its forefeet upon her knees, staring and neighing at me, just as a dog would stare and bark at a stranger. The lady looked at me with surprise and astonishment, and addressed some words to a gentleman of a very grave and dignified appearance, seated opposite her, and who was regarding me with looks that expressed both wonder and suspicion. These words he apparently answered; then motioned with his hands and spoke to my conductor, who thereupon placed a chair for me to sit upon in position about half way between the lady and gentleman. This I did without speaking, for I felt it was useless; but, if I could not speak, I could not help admiring the lady, although I scarcely liked to return their gaze, for I felt I was in the company of those who had a sort of a claim to scrutinise. Her remarkable beauty was, indeed, beyond comparison; and her face, neck, arms, and hands were of the most lovely and brilliant colours that can be imagined.

After a while the man whom I saw seated (and whom I afterwards found to be the King, or Sagerue as he is called) spoke to me, but of course I could not understand him, so I only shook my head. His Majesty, seeing it was useless to question me, forbore doing so, but spoke for some time with the lady—whom I found later to be the Queen—evidently about me, as I perceived by their glances. Presently, the door was again pushed back, and the same person—a servant, as I afterwards discovered—who conducted me into the King's presence entered and, standing in the centre of a circle such as I have before described, stretched out his right arm, with fingers all closed except the first, formed a circle by swinging his arm slowly round, then spoke some words, and stood erect with arms folded. I found that this was the manner of saluting in this country. The King arose, as did the Queen, who, taking the pony in her arms and advancing towards the door, motioned me to follow, which I did. I soon found myself in a dining-room, or, if you will, breakfast-room. [I may here explain that the highest mark of respect that could be shown a stranger was for the master of the house to go first, or lead the way.] In this room there was an excellent meal provided, but I could not distinguish any of the meat or drink: all was different from what I had been used to; yet it was delicious. While I was eating in silence and wonder, continually staring about me in a confused and stupid manner, bewildered with everything I saw, and above all with the surprising brilliancy of the colours upon the face, neck, and arms of the king and queen and the two servants in attendance, I noticed that his majesty often looked at me in the same stern and suspicious manner he did when I first saw him, which gave me great uneasiness, and added to my confusion, and I certainly should have felt very uncomfortable had it not been for the kindly looks I received from the queen, and my feeling that she was speaking to his majesty in my favour, though in what way I, of course, could not judge. After the meal was over, two more little ponies, about the size of English lap-dogs, came neighing and trotting into the room, started at seeing me, and then darted towards the queen, by whom they were in turn caressed. These, I learned, were the largest horses to be found in this country. They are only used as pets yet, strange to say, horse racing is a national sport—of course, these diminutive creatures run without riders.

While the Queen was petting these really beautiful little creatures, the King rose to leave the apartment. First approaching close to the Queen, he, in a pleasant, good tempered, yet meaning manner, drew the two first fingers of his right hand (which, by-the-bye, were of a beautiful crimson color) across the Queen's forehead. The Queen, rising, returned the salutation by drawing the two first fingers of her right hand across the Sagerue's brow. The latter thereupon advanced to the door, turned, and standing in the centre of the circle, stretched out his right arm, and with finger pointing, as I thought, at the Queen then at myself, said something, swung his arm around, and left the room. The Queen, I perceived, returned the last salute, but not in the same ceremonious manner. Of course, I did not understand the meaning of what they did, so only looked on with curiosity; but I felt certain at the time I ought to have taken some part in it, for I noticed that after the King was gone the Queen looked at me with contempt, and appeared to take no more notice of me, but to caress the ponies. While lost in reverie upon this subject, a servant entered the room, stood fair in the centre of the circle at the door, then slowly swung his arm around and motioned me to follow. This I did, first turning upon the circle on the floor towards the Queen, and moving my arm round as I had seen the king do. I omitted to draw my two fingers across her brow, for it had, by their looks, struck me that it was some sign of endearment; and I was most certainly right, for, although the forming of a circle with the right arm is a common salutation, not unmixed with religious ceremony, yet drawing the two fingers of the right hand across the brow is equivalent to kissing with us. [I afterwards discovered a still further action of expressing love, which was, to smooth the hair with the right hand; but this is only done when there is supposed to be no witnesses, and a pair of lovers caught so amusing themselves causes as much smiling and side-winks as it would in England if two lovers were caught with their arms around each others' neck and kissing.] The Queen returned my salute, looking both pleased and surprised, but not quite in the same manner as she did the king's, and yet I can hardly tell wherein lay the difference; but a difference there certainly was—much the same, I suppose, as there would be in England between warm friends and mere acquaintances bidding each other adieu: they may use the same words, yet there would be a difference in their expression.

I followed my guide, who motioned me to do so, passing through several apartments and up a grand staircase. We came to a closed door, where my conductor paused and listened. I looked about me: walls, ceilings, and, turn which way I would, everything seemed ornamented by metals let into the wood in thousands of different forms and figures. No matter whether it was flowers, birds, beasts, or landscape, all was done with different colored metals; and there appeared to be some of every color. [I discovered later that these ingenious people knew how to color white metal, such as silver or tin, any tint they may desire, so that really there were not so many different metals as there were different colors; but one thing must not be forgotten: they could not change the natural color of any metals; it was only white ones they could color.] My guide now made me some signs, by which I afterwards discovered, he was instructing me how to behave when in the presence of those I was about to see. I did not comprehend that I was about to be brought before the Sagerue's ministers, spiritual and temporal; nor was I aware of the state of excitement my arrival had thrown the whole government into. The truth is, I was too much astounded at all I saw, and the strangeness of my situation, to comprehend anything clearly. As the door slid back, a novel and strange eight met my gaze. I entered the room, it is true, but was so bewildered that I didn't know what I said or did. I forgot, or did not see, the circle at my feet. I remember seeing each person present describe with his arm a small circle and point his finger at me, but beyond that I could comprehend nothing. What confused me most was the smallness of the stature of those I now saw. I had seen giants at least thirty feet high, and men of my own size, but of those before me the tallest (except the Sagerue, who was present) was not more than four feet high, and the shortest scarcely three.

I should most certainly have taken them for children, if it had not been for the look of old age they had about them. The colours on their faces were dull, and very much faded. As soon as I was in the centre of the room, they drew their seats around me till I found myself in the centre of a circle, with a low stool placed for me to sit upon. After a short pause, the Sagerue spoke to one of the dignitaries, who replied, and then rising, I thought with difficulty, addressed me. Of course I could not understand him; nevertheless, seeing that he paused as if for me to reply, I arose, and, as near as I can remember, thus addressed them_:—_"My Lords, I cannot comprehend your language, who or what you are, or where I am. All I can say is, I am a poor sailor, brought here by accident or fate, but how I got here I don't know. I am an Englishman, and I don't think you understand me any more than I do you, so it's of no avail talking; but if you can tell me whether I am inside the world or outside, I should take it as a favour, for I am bothered if I can tell." I then sat down.

While I was speaking I noticed they paid the greatest attention to what I said, but they evidently could not make anything of it. They then talked for some time among themselves, and the result of their deliberations, as I learned later, was:—First: I was to be kept a prisoner, till such time as they could understand who and what I was. Second: Twelve young men should be brought into my presence daily to learn my language, and so discover all about me; and, as soon as that was done, another consultation should be held, and a decision arrived at as to my future treatment.

After this the assembly broke up, and my guide motioned me to follow him; but I must not forget to mention the ceremony observed by those present on leaving the room. It appeared to me at the time, although I was confused, that there was a peculiarity in their proceedings, of which I shall speak more fully presently: I am now only noting things as they appeared to me at the time, and the impression they then produced. I noticed that the tallest (except the Sagerue) arose first, and walked slowly up to the circle that was close to the door; standing in the centre of this, he turned and, looking at the Sagerue, stretched out his right arm, and, with his first finger pointing, swung it round in as large a circle as he conveniently could.

This action was repeated by the Sagerue, with a smaller circle, and without rising from his seat. The party at the door then looked at each one present in turn, and formed the circle, but, as I then thought and afterwards proved, in different sizes, and each returned the compliment; and so on, till all had gone except the Sagerue, who stood upon the circle at the door, and went through the same ceremony towards me, but with only a small circle. Now, not being a blockhead by nature, or very slow to learn, I comprehended something of what I saw, and did as the others did, and to the Sagerue swung my arm round in the largest circle I was able, which was larger than any of those preceding, by reason of my stature exceeding theirs, and, as a consequence, my arms being longer. I observed this pleased the king, not so much by any change in his countenance as by the expression in his eyes, for it really is a fact that these people express all emotion with the eyes. Love, anger, fear, revenge, or indifference, are expressed with the eyes only; this, I suppose, is caused by the brilliant colours of their skins not allowing their feelings to be visible as with us. Be that as it may, their eyes express everything.

Strange to say, after several months residence with them I could judge their thoughts less, by their eyes, at the end of that time than I could at first; nor was this all, for after a time their voices seemed to lose the musical ring they appeared to have when I first heard them speak. A dozen speaking together, each one in a different key, more resembled glee singing than aught else; but in time I got so used to it that I did not notice it half so much as at first.

In a few minutes after the assembly broke up I found myself in another part of the palace, confined to a suite of three rooms and one or two small offices. While being conducted to these rooms I passed an open door, through which I caught a glance of a lady standing on her head, or trying to do so, but the door was closed so quickly by another lady that I had scarcely time to make sure of what she was doing, but I saw my guide's eyes express contempt (if I understood them rightly) at the sight.

And now, as I am what may be called a state prisoner, let me describe my apartments. The walls were of blue wood, and inlaid with metals of crimson, gold, and white, as the principal colors. The ceiling of one room was white, inlaid with gold; of another gold and white. The floor of one room was black and white, like a checker board, and to the threshold of every door there was a circle of about three feet in diameter. In many respects the furniture differed but little from English household goods, in fact, some might have been taken for old fashioned English, others for a new style. The windows were of glass; there were several looking glasses, but I saw no china, all drinking cups being of metal or glass, except those used by the giants, of which anon.

After my jailer (I suppose I may so call him) left me, and I had noticed my apartments a little, I approached the window and looked through the glass. I could not open it, nor could I see the sun—if sun it was—for it was directly over my head. It is strange, at this distance of time, I should remember so well what I saw, seeing how confused I was in my head. But I remember seeing in the distance giants ploughing, not straight as we do in England, but in circles, of which I shall speak more fully by-and-bye. I saw two or three ponies no larger than a lap- dog in a garden, eating the flowers, and a man came and drove them out. The flowers, I noticed, were marvellously brilliant in colour, but of course I could judge but faintly of their real beauty from my elevated position—for I was up three stories. Looking from the window of another room, I had a good view of the city, and was surprised to find all houses and streets, as far as I could see, arranged in circles. "How strangely fond these people are of circles," I thought. "The threshold of the door, their gardens, their ploughed fields, their ornaments on their person, and nearly everything about them are of a circular form; their manner of saluting is circular." But, if I was surprised at what I then saw, I soon found I had still greater cause for wonder.

Continuing my inspection of the city, but more particularly of that portion of the street that was visible from my window, I noticed, among other things, the continual arrival and departure of these enormous perambulator-like carriages, pushed by giants, and their marvellous rapidity. At the time, I set it down at twenty-five miles an hour, but I believe twenty may be taken as the average. I saw one carriage pushed by two giants, in which were seated three men and two ladies, and a like number in the carriage were standing on their heads. I had just time enough, as they passed, to notice that those who were seated had all they could do to prevent those on their heads from tumbling out, to say nothing of the difficulty of keeping the dresses of the ladies in something like decent order. I, of course, was greatly surprised at this, and wondered at the meaning of it. At the same time I saw a man standing on his head in the middle of the road. "Good gracious," I thought, "he will certainly be run over;" but he was not, for two others came and dragged him away. As they approached my place of observation, I saw that his clothes were untidy and in rags.

Perhaps, before I proceed further, it will be as well to explain the meaning of this standing on the head, for it is a debasing habit with all classes there—not so much among the giants, for, if caught in the act, they are nearly always flogged, the law being far more strict against the giants than against the men: in fact, to my mind this class of people are not justly dealt with, especially when it is borne in mind that all the drudgery of life is done by them. There is not a single law passed by the men but it in some way bears hard upon the giants. Some of their laws, I admit, upon the face, appear equal and just, but where they so appear, practice proved them otherwise. For instance, anyone found in the public streets, standing on his or her head, as the case may be, the law says they shall be fined or whipped according to the opinion of the jury. But here is where I find great fault with this law: in their own house, or carriage, not being considered the public street, they escape. If they were found standing on their head in the public street, the jurymen—all men—would not order one of their number to be flogged: they would be only fined or imprisoned. But how fares it with the giants? In the first place, they cannot stand on their head in their own houses, because they are such miserable structures there is no convenience; and, if they attempted, they would only smash what little furniture they possessed. They are therefore compelled, if they do indulge in this ridiculous habit, to go out of doors, where they are sure to be arrested, taken before a jury and fined heavily; and they can seldom pay, the whipping follows. People in England will doubtless exclaim, "Whatever can be the motive for standing on their heads?" and I answer, "It is something wonderful, even to me, and I am truly thankful my own countrymen and women are not addicted to such a silly and debasing habit—for debasing it is."

From what I have seen and been told, standing on the head in these people, produces a sort of giddy pleasure, or pleasing sensation—that is, when they only get up and down again, say once or twice. There is scarcely a man or woman but indulges a little, but it is when the practice is carried to excess that it causes all the trouble: when they get at it morning, noon, and night; neglecting home, business, and personal appearance—for it appears this silly habit grows upon them and the more they indulge the more they require—until either madness seizes them or they lose strength and soon waste away to nothing. To see, as I have seen, ladies whose beauty far surpasses anything I can describe, take to the habit and carry it to such mad excess that they neglect everything: home, husband, and personal appearance; modesty and every other virtue scattered to the winds; despised by all around them except those as bad as themselves; introducing ruin and degradation; it has, indeed, made me truly heavy at heart, yet very thankful that none of my countrymen so degrade themselves. I really was in some doubt whether I ought to mention this great national vice, fearing my own countrymen might take to it, but, upon reflexion, I feel convinced that Englishmen, at least, will never so lower themselves. Besides, if I were to leave out all that is evil and speak only of that which is good, who would believe me? So, for my own credit's sake, I must relate all, even though very much may be hard to believe. I shall have occasion shortly to speak more fully on the manners, laws, and customs of these people, so I will return to where I left off.

As I gazed from my windows, at the heavens above, at the streets, upon the palace gardens and open country in the distance, then back again in silent wonder upon the strange but elegant decorations of both wall and ceilings of my apartments, meditating, or trying to meditate upon all I saw, and wandering in thought to the time I started in my balloon upon my perilous journey, who can wonder that my head ached, and that time was unheeded in its flight? But I was at last interrupted in my dreamy rambling. The door slid back and my jailer entered. Standing on the circle, he saluted in the usual way, by slowly swinging his arm round. He was followed by twelve young men, whose skin was of the most beautiful glowing colours I ever beheld. These saluted me in the same manner as my jailor had done, which compliment I returned. I noticed that each had a bundle with him, and that they were not, like the Sagerue's ministers, short in stature and grave in manners, but tall, some of them six feet high, remarkably young looking, and as full of nonsense as a lot of young school boys. After they were seated, in the form of a half-circle, each one with his bundle in front of him, my jailor said something to the first, and directed my attention to his movements. He took out a cup and held it up for me to look at, and, with the others, prepared to write.

I saw at once what was required of me, so called it "cup;" this they wrote down in their letters. Then a knife was held up; and so one article after another, till fully two hundred different things were named. I thought it a strange way of learning a language, but what puzzled me most was, when they came again the next day, they could call nearly every article by its English name as well as I could. But owing to the musical tone of their voices, they gave a more singing sound to the names of some articles; a few I had to sound over again. This school of languages (if I may so call it) was continued day after day, till they could both talk and write the English language—for I taught them writing as well as I could—and in some things they corrected me, and I was bound to admit I was no scholar. Although they were learning my language, and could soon converse with me in English, I was not learning any of theirs, for they not only omitted to take any pains to teach me, but rather, as I thought, refrained from doing so; had they made the attempt I could never have spoken their language, owing to the natural gruffness of my voice. I discovered that it was only those whose voice was (if I may call it so) a deep bass that could learn mine, and my pupils were selected on account of their voice corresponding with my own.

CHAPTER V.

I THOUGHT it a strange circumstance, at the time, that the young men I was teaching should never ask me anything about myself or where I came from; but I found they were forbidden to do so, everything connected with myself being considered a state secret. During the time they were learning my language, I was well treated, as far as food and clothing were concerned, but no liberty was allowed me, not even in the palace garden. Occasionally, while the learning of English was going on, one or two of the Sagerue's ministers would enter the room and listen, but they made no attempt to learn, and I found that small as they were in stature, they were treated with the greatest of respect. I shall never forget my surprise when I discovered that some of them were actually getting shorter every time I saw them. But I soon found I had much to learn.

I may mention that everything of mine that had been found in my balloon, or that I had given away, had been collected with the greatest care, and placed in a sort of museum.

After these young men had learned English, so as to speak and write it correctly, the Sagerue's ministers bade me give an account of myself, which was interpreted to them by three of the cleverest of those who had learned English, the remaining nine being present only when something turned up that required their services. The reason for this was that the greatest secrecy might be observed. Now, reader, it is not to be supposed that the whole history of myself and the outer world was conveyed to these people in a day or two; far from it; had they left it to me I could soon have said my say, but that would not do. It was questioning and cross-questioning, right and left, and repeating the same story over and over again, that took up the time.

And so two or three months passed away. The little book upon astronomy and the pocket Bible found among my things caused weeks of questioning, and the excitement I have seen the priests get into over these books and my answers was really ridiculous. They would rave, storm, and quarrel amongst themselves most fearfully. As I afterwards learned, none of the spiritual ministers of the Sagerue would believe a word of them, asserting that it was contrary to religion and their Koran; but some of the temporal ministers believed it, saying that if there was any truth in my statement about the outside of the earth being inhabited, it was not impossible, but admitted that they would be dangerous books to let fall into the hands of the people generally, and upon no account must these matters be allowed to come to the knowledge of the giants.

As may be supposed, something like confidence and good friendship sprang up between myself and some of those who had learned English, and with one or two of the ministers—fortunately for me; for I can assure my readers, if I had not succeeded in making some firm friends, and amongst them the Sagerue himself, I should never have lived to return, for their priests, generally speaking, both hated and feared me, declaring that if what I said about myself and country were true, then good-bye to their religion. I had at times to be very careful what I did say, and was often cautioned how to speak, after this manner:—the Sagerue or one of the ministers, my friends, would visit me on the sly, with one interpreter only, and ask me such questions as I should have to answer the next day; and, after getting the truth from me, advise me what to answer. "You see," they would say to me, "our Koran makes no mention about the earth's thickness, but rather denies any limit, for it states that the earth is without bounds, and its mighty pits bottomless." Here, at least, was an allusion to the shaft whereby I had entered. But their Koran speaks of another; and there is really a second, at the opposite pole of the earth, as I afterwards proved. But I cannot agree with these people that, because their Koran speaks of these pits as being bottomless, that is proof positive of the truth of their sacred writings. Be that as it may, the fact of myself and country was not known to all, and many things that I did speak upon I was told I must never repeat elsewhere under penalty of death.

Another thing that astonished me was that only the more advanced in science seemed to comprehend that there was any limit to the earth's thickness, and even they would argue, to my assertion respecting inhabitants on the outside, that "it is impossible, for, if the outside were peopled, the rapidity of the earth's revolutions would send them flying into space;" and it was to little purpose that I tried to explain the effects of atmospheric pressure, or the earth's attraction, and it was not until it was proved, beyond a doubt, that the true zone of attraction was located about 2,000 miles from the earth's surface and the same distance from its centre, that the real fact of things was rightly understood. But I shall enter more fully into these matters by-and-bye.

Now, after the English language had been taught to a few of these people, the whole history of myself repeated to them, together with everything they wished to know respecting the outside of the world, and I had been bound in the serious penalty of death not to reveal to anyone (save those to whom I had already told all) anything respecting who and what I was, my country and religion, I was allowed liberty to come and go, yet always in the company of one of the interpreters, who was, to a certain extent, responsible for my behaviour, and I was looked upon as the guest of the Sagerue, who took great interest in me. A carriage was always at my disposal, with two giants to push me about. Of course, there were many surmises as to who and what I was; and amongst the rest, that I had dropped from the sun or had been found running wild in the woods, but, as the truth was not allowed to be told, I was looked upon as a sort of man in the iron mask.

The first use I made of my liberty was, in company with my interpreter (whom I might as well call friend, for I really was very much attached to him, and he to me), to pay a visit to what I may style the opera house. It was ten o'clock in the morning by my watch. [Their methods of computing time I shall speak of later.] When we descended the stairs at the grand entrance, the two giants were standing behind the carriage ready to move when ordered, their hands resting upon a cross-bar ten feet in length and twenty from the ground. In front of the carriage a man was seated, holding a cross-bar attached to a wheel, which I saw was to guide the vehicle. The giants were very gaily decorated with metals of different colours, in a dress resembling that of the Highland Scotch: their high limbs from ankle to the knee being naked. Standing on the steps of the grand entrance, my head was not much below the level of theirs, and the distance from them to me about twenty yards. Viewing them from that distance, I thought them not such bad looking people, and could easily trace a remarkable likeness in them to the men—though to have told a man this would have been considered a great insult. Descending the steps we entered the carriage, and, my friend giving the signal, away we started slowly. As we did so I turned my head and saw the Sagerue standing at the entrance. Telling my companion, he ordered the carriage to stop, then rising and facing his majesty he swung his arm round slowly. I arose and did the same; the Sagerue then saluted and nodded his head as a signal for us to go on. "He only came to see us off," said my friend, as we once more started. Passing out of the gates to the main road I silently and wonderingly looked about me and up at the sun, now shining bright and clear directly over our heads: nearly one third of the orb appeared dark at the top, and two thirds of its bright side towards the southern pole or shaft, for it was now almost the middle of winter. We were travelling at, I should say, about the rate of eight miles per hour, that being the most common speed to go at in the city; though in cases of necessity, or business connected with the government, the speed is as high as twenty-five miles an hour. The reader will readily suppose that eight miles an hour is only a walking pace for these giants, and I can assure him it is only a slow walk at that.

Passing a carriage in which I saw a pony in a lady's lap, I could not help smiling, and saying to my friend "If I could or should ever have the opportunity of telling them in England that the horses rode in carriages, and giants pushed them, my countrymen would exclaim: 'Eh? Tell that to the marines. The blue jackets will never believe that!'" By the time I had explained this saying, we had reached the opera house, where many carriages had arrived, and the number of giants standing about in their showy dresses I thought a grand sight. Of course these people never enter any of the buildings used or inhabited by the men. They build them, it is true, but they are never allowed to enter, which I thought rather hard, and told my friend so; but he argued that the doorways were too small; that their stature was higher than the ceilings of private houses; that in public buildings the seats were too close together for them to step between; "in short," added my friend, after a dozen other excuses—amongst the rest that their breath was offensive—"we don't want them." I made no answer to this, but I thought any excuse was better than none; at the same time I was forced to admit that there was much truth in his argument, and it must not be forgotten that, although the giants build the houses, that is, the great bulk or heavy part, yet what they do is always done from the outside; in fact most of the houses are built in the country and afterwards conveyed to where required. Entering the opera house or concert-hall, we were shown to a front seat, and I noticed all eyes were upon us, for it had been noised abroad that I—or, as they said of me, "the man about whom there is so much mystery"—was to be present. As soon as we were seated, my friend commenced to point out everything of interest connected with the building: amongst the rest, that it was formerly a temple; was constructed entirely of wood; and was nearly a thousand years old. At this I was astonished, but he assured me it was a fact, and added with a sigh: "We don't preserve timber now as our ancestors did. Everything is done now for cheapness."

"We read, Mr. Falsivir," said he, that "every stick of wood used in the construction of this building was steeped for seven years in the preserving pits; and so well was it done that from appearances it will last another thousand years. As to fire, if you were to make it red hot it would not burn." My friend now directed my attention to the ornamental work, such as carving of the columns, pilasters, and metal work, especially the enormous quantity of gold. "This last," said he, "is of modern workmanship, since the discovery of enormous masses of this metal. Formerly, when gold was very scarce, it was used as a medium of exchange. But as one discovery after another of this metal took place, the quantity on hand became so enormous that a fall in its value was feared, and it was resolved to use a large amount of it in decorating our public buildings, in the hope of checking a fall in its valuation, but to no purpose; and now it is no longer used for purposes of trade, paper manufactured and embossed in a peculiar manner supplying its place."

But to come to the entertainment. It must be noted that these people, as a rule, in their public or national style of singing, sound one note or half note each. They do not, as we do, sing an air or song, but simply sound one note or half-note, so that when they sing for simple airs, eight voices will do; for more difficult pieces, sixteen, twenty-four, and thirty-two, or more, together with the corresponding number of half-notes, or sharps and flats; and sometimes the singers are multiplied up to hundreds by having many of each note or half-note. Upon this occasion there were upwards of five hundred singers, and, perhaps, as many instruments—only one or two of which at all resembling such as we have in England. Now, if the reader can imagine each singer, or set, sounding his own note, just as a key of a piano sounds but one note when touched, he may form some idea of this style of singing: in fact, it resembled a piano upon an enormous scale, more than aught else. I thought it very difficult, but my friend assured me it came quite easy to them. I must say I was delighted. I am no judge of music it is true, and do not know a sharp from a flat, but for all that I was very much pleased and entertained.

After the concert was over there was an exhibition of giants, who entered by the back of the stage or platform—this being built strong enough for the purpose, and fully eighty feet high. I was very much entertained by what I saw these people do. Part of their performance consisted in singing songs sung as we should; and showing how many men they could carry at once, and one really fine, gigantic fellow, I think must have had nearly sixty hanging on to him at one time. They exhibited their skill in other ways; and I told my friend I did not think the giants such fools as he considered them. "Its all a matter of opinion," said he; "but don't speak too loud or they will hear you," adding, "they have sharp ears; but there, it doesn't matter much: they cannot understand your language."

The giants in their display exhibited some wonderful strength, and I estimated their power to be twenty times that of a strong man. "I cannot understand," said I to my friend, "however you keep them in subjection." Looking me full in the face he whispered "I will tell you some day, but not now." Then added, after a pause, "If we had no other power but mere brute force to use against them, they would soon be our masters."

After the concert—a morning performance—was over, we returned to the palace, the sun being by this time eclipsed upon the other edge, or corresponding to our two in the afternoon. As we pushed home again, I could not help occasionally leaning back and looking through the glass in the hood of the carriage into the two giants' faces, as they bent somewhat over, and marking the good-tempered smile with which they moved along, and how pleased they seemed when I gave them a smile in return.

"Well," I thought, "it is wonderful that such enormous creatures as you are should submit to be governed by such little mortals as we. There must be a wonderful secret somewhere."

CHAPTER VI.

I WILL not tire the reader by any further incidents of this day, but will proceed to give a geographical description of the interior of the earth, its sun, climate, and productions, together with the best means of reaching this newly discovered country. In the first place, I understand that our world is nearly round, and about eight thousand miles in thickness; and that at the north and south pole there is an opening one hundred and twenty miles across, as I have plainly shown. This opening gradually narrows to about eighty miles across at two thousand miles from the earth's surface, and it is here that the zone of attraction is located, for the exterior and interior of the earth; it then widens out in a regular manner until, as it reaches the verge of the great central hollow, it is again one hundred and twenty miles across at the interior surface. Through one or the other of these shafts the atmosphere is drawn at the rate of about one hundred miles per hour. I believe its velocity is less than this at the entrances or exits of these shafts, but more in the centre, or rather, narrowest part. When entering by the north pole, which it does for six months out of the twelve, it escapes by the south, and when descending the south-polar shaft, for a like period, it escapes by the north pole. Now, it must be quite plain that the passing through of this current of air ventilates the interior of the earth. The air always descends at either pole during the winter or dark months in that region, commencing a little before the sun sets at either pole, and beginning to ascend a short time before the sun rises or shines upon the polar shaft, up which the atmosphere travels.

The sun which illuminates the interior of the earth is, according to the opinion of some of the learned of the central inhabitants, suspended in the very centre of gravity, and, as the earth's attraction is equal on all sides, it cannot fall or change its place. It is nine miles, four hundred and ninety yards, two feet eleven inches in diameter, and has only one bright side. Its solid content is about five hundred cubic miles, five hundred yards three barrowfuls.

The revolution of the earth gives them their day and night the same as it does us. It is only for a few days at midsummer, at any given point, that the full face of the sun is visible. At all other periods of their year more or less of the dark side is facing every point.

Some of their learned men think this sun is a ball of fire, one side of which has either not yet commenced to burn or else burnt out; but I think differently. Others now think their sun is a fragment of ours, and believe that our sun exercises an influence over theirs. They bring a great array of facts and figures in support of their argument; but I cannot say if they are right or wrong in the ideas they have entertained since reading my book upon astronomy. It appears to me to be a body giving light only, and that the heat is caused by the light passing through the atmosphere; though what causes the luminousness I am at a loss to tell. Once, in conversation with one of their learned men, I stated that the sun which gave light and warmth to the outer surface of the earth has dark spots upon it, some of them of enormous size; and that at present no one could tell the cause of these spots. For a few moments he sat in deep thought, then, suddenly looking up, observed, "I have it; your sun is, or has been, subject to volcanic eruptions, you say, some of them I have no doubt very powerful, if your estimate of its size is correct. Who knows but these eruptions have blown fragments of it into space, and that this sun which gives us light and warmth is one of them?"

"But," said I "how did it get here?"

"Before the world was completed", he answered; "when it was in its gaseous state; and so remained in the very centre, preventing the world from settling in a solid body, as it would have done had we no such sun to give us light and heat. Besides," said he, "our sun having one dark side helps me to this idea; because I cannot think your sun is luminous or capable of giving light except at the surface.

"I can very plainly see," said I, "the wisdom of your sun having a dark side, because, without it, you would live in one endless day and summer."

"True," said he; "Still, I think our sun is a fragment of yours; and I likewise think that, when this sun lodged here, it drew the atmosphere after it, causing the shaft through which you arrived and, of course, forcing another at the opposite extreme. Had it not done so, the world, in its then pliable condition, would have become like a blown bladder, and the outer crust so thin that it would not have withstood the pressure caused by centrifugal force, but would have been blown into fragments." Of course, I leave wiser heads than mine to answer this hypothesis. I wish a few of our learned astronomers would induce Government to fit up an expedition to the interior of the earth on purpose to have the matter settled.

Now, it appears to be a fact, and one I can hardly explain, that when the sun on the outside of the world begins to shine upon, say, the north pole, the sun in the centre of the earth turned its dark side to the same pole or polar shaft and _vice versa_; so that when either pole or shaft at the earth's surface is cold, by reason of the sun's absence, it is heated at the interior of the earth, because their sun is then pouring its nearly full blazing rays upon it. Hence the heat at the interior draws the cold dark air down, which, after passing round the inside of the earth, escapes by the opposite outlet, because our sun draws it up. By this means thorough ventilation is obtained. This, of course, is or was not known to the central inhabitants. I say this, because the few who do know the facts relating to this matter are not allowed to speak or publish their discoveries, by reason of the fear they have of the priests; so that it was only in my company and in my rooms that these scientific subjects were talked about.

Of course, these people know nothing of either moon or stars, except what they learned by reading my book of astronomy. But with regard to moonlight, they have no need of it, for there is always some light reflected from their sun during the night, in appearance very like our Aurora Borealis; so that this, and the reflection from the opposite side of the interior of the earth, creates a light equal to our moon and much more beautiful. I can assure my readers that to look up at their sun in the middle of a clear night, and witness the gorgeous wreath of mellow light that surrounds it—apparently a mixture of green, gold, white and crimson, always stronger on one side than the other, according to the time of year—and to gaze into apparent space upon the splendid gold-like light that is reflected from the other side of the earth, is a sight far more grand than I can describe; and although it is only two thousand miles in a straight line, pointing directly upwards to the other side, yet it really looks as if one was gazing into space, so great does the distance seem.

All their learned men assert that the earth is perfectly round, and about six thousand miles in circumference, measured either from polar shaft to polar shaft or by the equator. It is agreed by their geographers and scientists that the earth travels at the rate of two hundred and fifty miles an hour at the equator. I think they must be wrong, because I have heard our captain say it had moved at the rate of a thousand miles per hour at the equator, which I have told them, but they did not believe it; and yet, strange to say, they pretended to, but tried to have their own way, and, to prove themselves right, fetched out a lot of instruments (circles mostly) and set them all spinning, and then, what with the confusion of these and their strange voices, and hard names for everything, I soon got so confused I entirely gave it up in despair.

It appears there are very few mountains, and none that can be compared with those outside the earth; neither are there any oceans like ours, the largest piece of water I have heard of being not more than six hundred miles across. But their rivers are wonderfully numerous, and abound with excellent fish. As to the different metals dug out of the earth, I am informed that in the neighbourhood of the north or south polar shafts, there are enormous masses of copper, but this metal seems to disappear as you reach their equator, which I believe to be directly under our own. At least the copper, if to be found there, is much deeper in the earth, while at the poles it is close to the surface.

So far as other metals are concerned, they are very abundant, gold especially. In fact, so numerous are the metals there found that I cannot pretend to describe them all; but iron, copper, gold, and silver are the most abundant and most used. It is the opinion of the learned that the polar shafts are all iron. I am of the same way of thinking, because the compass points towards the north here, the same as at the earth's surface; yet I cannot agree that there is as much iron at the south pole shaft as at the north. Their argument is that the magnetic power of the iron is greater at the north than at the south; and they argue this in a curious manner. They say their sun shines upon the north pole so many days longer than it does upon the south, and that this is caused by the attractive nature of the iron compelling the sun to linger a greater length of time before it can recover its balance. They even go so far as to say that there is danger that the sun may some day be drawn from the centre of gravity and fall into the north polar shaft, and they be left in total darkness. To this I replied that if they had nothing more to fear than that the sun should fall from heaven, they need not be alarmed. They believe, or pretend to know, that it has given them light and heat for many thousands of years, so that it is not likely it is going to tumble now. Yet there are plenty of them superstitious enough to believe that that will be what they call the end of the world. But I shall speak more of this when I comment upon the religion of the people, which I admit is very defective, and I am thankful my countrymen hold no such absurd ideas as seem to run riot in the brain of this otherwise intelligent people.

The climate of this country is not adapted to an English constitution. As regards myself, my constitution is good and my health excellent—that is, when upon the surface of the earth; but in the interior I seemed to have no strength, and if I attempted the least exercise, I found a difficulty in breathing: I am sure one mile of walking there fatigued me more than six in England. I have often wondered how it is the inhabitants, and all things moveable, do not, as the earth revolves, fall upon their sun. The reason assigned by some of their learned is, that the revolutions of the earth keeps all things in their places; others, its attraction; and another school of philosophers assert it is the repulsive power of their sun, a power which they say it possesses. Now I leave it for my countrymen to decide which is right, for I am no judge of these matters; all I know is, the learned of these central inhabitants are everlastingly quarrelling about it, calling each other hard names, et cetera, and never agreeing together. Now, if I were to venture an opinion upon the subject, I should say it was the three combined—that is, supposing their sun to possess this repulsive power, which they assert it has, and, as a proof, they say their atmosphere does not extend more than twenty miles from the earth's surface, whereas, if their sun had no such power, the atmosphere would extend all the way to it, and be set on fire by it; but this I call folly. My impression is, if the atmosphere did extend to and envelop their sun, they would receive very little daylight; but as to its setting the air on fire, I look upon that as all nonsense. But I really do think their sun possesses the power of repulsion to a certain extent, at least over the air, and by that power the atmosphere is confined to the earth's surface. But, before I end this subject of the sun's repulsive power, I will here mention that I have often enquired how it is (supposing their sun to possess the power of repulsion) that it shines for a greater number of days upon the north polar shaft than upon the south. Their argument is that their sun is drawn by the magnetic iron of the north, to a certain extent, and no more, because the more it is drawn the stronger the repulsive power is brought into play, and thus it recovers its balance. Now I don't like this argument, because if it is so, why need they be alarmed about their sun falling into the north polar shaft? This I have asked them, but, as all I said had to be interpreted, I could not always get sensible answers. There are many things I can explain and understand, but I am at a loss to comprehend why I should not possess the same amount of strength in the interior of the earth as at the surface, but it certainly is so, for upon my return to England, I found I was as strong as ever; but this I leave for scientific men to account for.

CHAPTER VII.

HAVING explained matters a little respecting the general appearance of the sun and the interior of the earth, I will now proceed to speak of the inhabitants, their manners, laws, and customs, and when I speak of one nation I speak of all, for there is but little difference as regards their manners, language, laws, and general customs and usages.

In the first place, there are two great divisions in society, viz., giants and men, and, most marvellous to say, the men are the offspring of the giants and they the offspring of the men. For example: if a man and woman marry and they have children, these children will grow to giants, and they live to (on an average) the age of forty, and die as we do upon the exterior of the earth; but if a couple of giants have children, they are from five to six feet high at their birth, seldom more or less, and never grow after, and their skin is of the most gorgeous colours. I do not mean to say they are born men and women; far from it, in fact they are babies to all intents and purposes, only they never increase in stature. The mind alone increases. The body develops, changing from baby appearance to sprightly youth, and from this to manhood stamp, passing through all the grades much as we do upon the surface of the earth, but there is no addition to their stature; and in the ending of their lives they do not die as we do, but dwindle in size, daily becoming less and less; reason, mind, and intellect all slowly disappearing.

Now, there is no particular limit to their existence, any more than amongst ourselves: the wasting away may commence at any period of their lives. They are likewise subject to accidents, but in the latter case the wasting away is much more rapid. For example, suppose a man to sustain such injury that he be crushed; with us or their giants that would be death and the body would rot, leaving the bones; but not so with them, no matter what may happen. Their bodies do not decay: they evaporate or dry up like methylated spirits, bone and all at the same time. You can perceive it get less and less day by day, but you cannot see what becomes of it.

But supposing a man to live to old age, his coming and going is after this manner:—At birth he is a babe in ways, but a man in stature; from sixteen to five and twenty he enters upon the habits of manhood, which he exercises for from fifty to sixty years; he then commences, without any apparent ill health, to waste away, his colours to fade, and the body to become less and less in every way—though in some cases so slowly that many years pass away ere he is (to use their term) put away. When the body has dwindled down to about three feet in stature the intellect commences to go likewise, and, from that time, the change is more rapid, and they can no longer trust themselves, or be trusted, to transact any business. Sleep, rest, and quiet, is all they care for, the former increasing daily. Memory fails and all enjoyment or care of life disappears, till at last they are nursed like babes, still getting less and less, at last a quiet sleep appears to come over them; they perhaps once or twice rally a little, to smile upon some familiar face, then close their eyes in quiet repose, to open them no more. For a few days they are quietly watched, but as no more awaking signs are visible, they are laid in their almost babe-like cot, in some quiet room, where friends may see them daily (as I did one who had been the greatest statesman of his age) and note the gradual change, less and less, till, in a few months, all that remained of one who had been his country's pride might have been held in the hollow of the hand; but even here there was no pause, for still it disappeared, till at last nothing remained, not even a mark to show that a mighty intellect had left the earth, its joys, and sorrows. I have gazed upon the spot whence I had seen day by day the changes take place, with clasped hands, quivering lip, and tear-dimmed eye, my feelings too great for utterance, yet mentally I exclaimed "Oh Heavens, can this be death?" Yet such it was.

I have said that the children of the men and women become giants. Of course, even in early infancy, they grow very rapidly, so fast, indeed, that in a few months they are too big for their parents to nurse them, and are therefore exchanged with some giant family for their child, and, by a strange provision of nature, this exchange is pleasing and agreeable to both parties, the men making the giants presents upon such occasions, and always in proportion to his means; but there is always this difference, the men do not accept the giants' children till they are four years of age, but the giants take the children of the men at four months' old and even younger. I quite agree with the wisdom of this arrangement, for it is certain that a giant mother can nurse and look after her child till four years of age, or till that they are somewhat able to take care of themselves, better than the parents of smaller size, and I think at four months old it is quite time for a woman to hand over her baby to the giants, for I assure my readers they are enormous babies by that time; they grow with such tremendous rapidity as to be quite unmanageable.

As to the subjection of the giants many will no doubt be surprised, and exclaim, "Do yon mean to tell me that these giants over thirty feet high, strong in proportion, submit to, and are governed by, a race of men only six feet in height?" Well, reader, all I can say is, believe it or not, just as you please; I cannot alter facts, but I will explain the secret: Their religion is at the bottom of it; by some means the men have all the learning on their side, and will not teach or allow a giant to be taught anything that a priest is not at the bottom of, and the result is it is superstition and nothing else. The priests tell the giants that if they humbly obey their masters, the men, and do their bidding in this life, then they, in the next state of existence, will be men, and beautiful as the men are; for, say they, "We were giants in our first state of existence, but we obeyed our masters, and now we are men;" and the poor foolish giants, having no sort of book learning, believe this, and do not only blindly submit, but almost worship the men as a superior race of mortals, when, in point of fact, the giants are, in my opinion—except book learning—quite as intelligent as their masters, only their knowledge is of a different sort. The men are clever at any light or fancy work; they are good at poetry, prose, or painting; but at making a road, building a bridge or houses, or anything wherein labor is required, they are useless. The giants build all their houses.

The houses are erected at the builder's yard some distance out of town, after this manner, for I have seen it done:—the timber used is about eight inches thick and from twenty to fifty feet in length, according to the size of the house required. These timbers are, after being steeped in some liquid that renders them fire-proof and more durable, laid on the ground side by side and bolted together; the whole is then planed very smooth, dovetailed at the corners, and otherwise prepared, and may be looked upon as one side of a house. It then passes into the hands of the carvers and fixers of inlaid metals, after which it is beautifully polished, and so both front, back and sides are prepared, floors as well; each part made to fit like a piece of cabinet work or a puzzle; after which it is carried into the city and put together.

Such is the wonderful skill of the giants, not only in this, but in other matters, that I consider them quite as wise as their masters, only not in the same things. For instance, if you were to ask a giant how far the interior of the earth was across, he would open his eyes and mouth in astonishment; or the size of their sun, he would say, it's not for the likes of us to know or enquire about these things, it is only our children who ought, or can know, of these matters. By their children, they mean the men, for they call them their children; and such is their ignorance of book learning, and the bigotry of their superstitious belief, that if anyone were to attempt to teach them better, they would never listen to him. Not that any of the men are likely to make the attempt; for they well know that if one generation was to be well taught, and all the superstition kept out, the men would soon cease to be absolute masters, and the giants would have a share in ruling the land; but while the laws and customs are so strictly enforced respecting the sort of knowledge to be imparted to the giants, and all those who attempt to set them right browbeaten, hooted at, and maltreated, it is not to be wondered at that the men, little insignificant things though they are, compared with the giants, should have it all their own way. It really is remarkable, the ceaseless manner their corrupt priestcraft have of drumming it into the ears of the giants that their happiness, both now and hereafter, can never be secured but by blindly obeying their masters the men. This is preached to them not only upon their Sunday, which is every tenth day, but often on work days; by priests who go about for the purpose, or stand at the road corners, and shout to them as they return from their daily toil, or visit them where they work, and their masters will grant them half-an-hour rest to listen to the good man, as their priests are called, but expect them to work the harder afterwards.

Sometimes they have to listen to sermons during their meal time, and as if this is not enough, at every road crossing and market place there is painted up pictorial emblems out of their sacred writings. Even their tools are so marked before given to them for use, and one favourite place of putting before their eyes signs that shall make them tremble for a time hereafter, is behind their master's carriage, where the giants see it, of course, but the masters never look. Now all this, to my countrymen, must appear strange, when he dwells upon the beauty and perfection of his religion, but what will he think when I tell him these people have two religions, one for the men, and one for the giants. I admit this does not appear to be so_ _in theory, but it is in practice, for their priests use very different expressions and ideas when addressing a meeting of men from what they do when preaching to the poor giants. When they addressed the men, it is on the way masters should treat their servants; but when preaching to the giants, it is the duty of servants to their masters.

I have hinted that the great emblem of their religion is the circle, but before I speak of this, it will be better, perhaps, if I were to give an history of their religion, as explained to me by my friend, to whom I am indebted for all the information I am in possession of, both as regards the secrets of their religion and politics. Perhaps it would be as well if I were to give an account of the beginning of the world, and how it was inhabited, that is, according to the belief of these people, which I need hardly say I do not admit a word of to be true. I only say this, lest my countrymen should say or imagine that I am tinctured with the absurd notions I have picked up in my foreign travels, and, at the same time, let me caution them as the only method of not having their religious opinions shaken, never, under any circumstances, to listen to the assertions or arguments of others not educated as they are; for I believe one of the surest causes of infidelity, or lack of faith in one's religion, is to be found in listening to the crafty sayings of others, especially when we cannot controvert them; therefore, I say to all who wish to preserve, as the standard of their belief, the sublime doctrines handed down to us from the most distant generations, never, under any circumstances, listen to people who have the least shade of opinion, fact, or otherwise, contrary to the doctrine taught us by our spiritual pastors and masters; no matter how absurd they are or may appear; and if there are any who differ from me in this matter, so be it, but I wash my hands of the whole affair, and if some should waver, and wish to get at the truth of this matter, as to whether I am right or wrong, let him or her go to some minister, whose opinion is the same as my own, and he will say as I do.

CHAPTER VIII.

I WILL give an account of how the world was made and inhabited—that is, according to the so-called sacred writings of these people; but I wish it to be understood that I have never read any of their books, good or bad, or learned their language, therefore, all I can tell of is that, and that only, which was told to me by my friend, and I must further state that he was no very firm believer in the religion he pretended to follow: and, perhaps, it would be as well to mention that very few of the men, that is the more learned of them, are believers in the doctrine they teach and preach to the ignorant giants. I once asked him if I might look upon him as having as much belief in his religion as the men generally, when, he coolly answered: "Yes, just about the same. Some believe more, some less; the higher order of our priesthood believe less than I do; in fact, scarce any at all. What they do believe is, that superstition was instituted by the men, that, by its aid, they might be enabled to rule the giants, and they are right," said he; "what should we do without it? Look at their towering stature and prodigious strength; why, our liberty and independence would not be worth an hour's purchase. But by superstition and our book learning, together with our knowledge of all the arts and sciences, we keep them down under our heel and down we will keep them, too;" and, as he said so, he stamped his foot upon the floor as if he fancied he then had a giant under his heel.

I looked at him with amazement, the more so when I remembered a giant could as easily have ground him under his foot, as a school-boy would a mouse, and could not forbear telling him so. "Bah!" said he. "You know nothing of our power. Wait till you are acquainted with our State secrets, and then you will alter your opinion."

Now it appears, according to their sacred writings, that the world is about twenty thousand years old. It is somewhat remarkable that their account of the creation is very like our own; only, instead of the work being done in six days, it occupied ten, which is the reason of every tenth day being their sabbath.

They believe in a number of gods and goddesses, ruled by one superior, called the Great Original. They say after the world was created, two of the goddesses, named Me and My, for being unfaithful, were compelled to become visible, take upon themselves mortal frames, and reside upon the earth. Soon after, they each became the mother of twins, who were the children of one and the same father, the god of colors or light; in each case a male and female. The children of the goddess Me were remarkable for their beauty, and the splendid colours of their skin, but the children of My, although passable in appearance, were all of one colour, viz., copper; this caused the goddess My to grieve continually, and to be jealous of Me and hate her; till, one day, she was visited by the god of strength and the god of wisdom. "My," said they to her, "We have heard your lamentation, and, out of pity, have come to offer you some consolation; you know our power, and how far it extends; which of us do you wish to aid you. Speak, and choose wisely; but remember, no matter which of us you choose, the power of the other will be exerted in favour of the children of Me." Then the goddess sighed, and answered: "Neither of you can bestow beauty upon my children; 'tis only the god of light that can beautify them, and he dare not aid me; therefore, O god of strength, exert thy power and make giants of them."

"My, thy wish is granted," answered the deity.

"My hath chosen," said the god of wisdom, "and to the children of Me shall wisdom be imparted." Then My repented, for she saw that wisdom would prevail over strength; so she prayed the deity to recall his words, but he informed her it was too late, as far as her children were concerned; but, if she would consent to become friendly with Me, and her children the servants of the children of Me, every succeeding generation should change places; or, in other words, the children of the giants should be men endowed with wisdom to rule, and the children of the men should grow to be giants possessed of great strength, but to be servants of the men during their first lives; and if they were good and obedient during their giant lifetime, at the end of it they should live again as men; after which, the sins of their parents being atoned for, they should become as gods, and assist in governing all things.

Of course this wild absurdity requires no comment from me; but I do think it a great pity a few missionaries cannot be sent to teach these people the true account of the creation of the world, and of Adam and Eve. I would have tried to teach them myself, but was not allowed to do so. If a certain number—say a dozen—were sent, duly authorised by the Archbishop of Canterbury, there would be no resisting such a delegation. As for the expense of the thing, why, a small extra tax put upon Sunday- school teachers and their scholars would soon raise the amount required. It will strike the dullest observer at once that if we teach these people the true history of Adam and Eve, all the rest will come as a matter of course, because that is the beginning or foundation of all our Bible truths; but, of course, I leave this matter for the consideration of the wise and prudent.

I have shown that the great religious emblem of these people is the circle. Perhaps I had better explain how this happens. It appears from what I have been told that the greatest philosopher these people ever heard of, and whose name was Is, lived about eighteen thousand years ago, and it was he who adopted the circle as the emblem of their religion. He wrote their sacred writings and their history of the creation. He was likewise the author of three books (of which I will speak presently), and builder of the great ball, or circle, said to have been fifty years in building.

Perhaps it will not be out of place to give a description of this enormous mass of human labor. When I saw it, I certainly did think this philosopher either one of the wisest of men or else the greatest fool. If he wished to build a monument to his memory that should last as long as time, he certainly has succeeded; but it is of no earthly use to anyone, nor does it serve any purpose beyond the emblem of their religion. My friend asserts it is this utter uselessness to mankind at large that proclaims the wisdom of its builder: "For," said he, "if he had erected a temple, religious bigotry would have destroyed it long ago; had he built a castle or citadel, contending armies would have laid it in ruins thousands of years since; or, had he built a city, conquerors would have committed it to the flames, but this mighty ball, that was of no use to either assailant or defendant, has been allowed to repose in peace. Retreating armies did not trouble to destroy it, because the advancing foe could derive no advantage from its position; conquerors did not make it a ruin, because it contained no secret chambers for the concealment of treasures; nor was there aught about it to enrich their temples; even the winds of heaven have not injured it, for there are no projecting angles, or columns for it to play upon; the very material of which it is composed would be useless if it were broken in pieces. Thus has our immortal philosopher proved the truth, and everlasting endurance of our faith."

This prodigious mass is said to contain forty-eight millions of square yards, and is twelve hundred feet in diameter, half of which is buried in the earth and stands upon nearly twenty-three acres of land. It is quite solid, and the material of which it is composed is a sort of cast brick made of cement and broken stone. The whole of the portion above ground is covered with glass. It is supposed to have been built in galleries, the steps filled in and glazed from the top downwards. There are four tunnels, if I may so call them, or staircases, descending, one from each side of the circle and meeting or ending in a chamber, the cell of the philosopher, directly under the bottom of the ball, six hundred feet from the earth's surface. These staircase subways are about six feet wide, and ten high. I and two others once paid a visit to the philosopher's cell, and I can assure my readers I did not attempt it a second time. We had to carry lighted lanterns, and the air was cold, keen, and damp, and the distance so great I thought we should never reach the bottom; besides, it reminded me too much of the journey through the earth. It is supposed that it took a thousand giants fifty years to build this ball.

The philosopher, whose cell is under this ball, is said to have been the wisest man that ever lived, and the author of three books, which three books compose their sacred writings.

The first is called the "Book of Truth;" and it took the author fifty years to write it. This gives the history of the world and the foundation of their religion. The second is a book of proverbs and advice to mankind in general, and is said to have taken the philosopher another fifty years to write. He then built the great ball, the work of another fifty years; after which he wrote the book of silence, or wisdom; but first invented a balance that would weigh both evil and good, and every action, passion, or emotion of everything, both animate and inanimate, likewise the elements and all their causes and effects. When this balance was ready, he prepared a book of three hundred and sixty- five leaves, intending, after he had discovered which was best, to write it down. The wise man first tried to find out which was most necessary for man, light or darkness; but after weighing, dividing, sub-dividing and adding for a whole year, he was compelled to admit one was as much needed as the other, so the leaf was left a blank. He next tried all the actions of man, but with the same result; for he found that, no matter which of these he laid in the balance, or how it turned the beam for the moment, he could always find another that brought it level again. So with storm or calm, sunshine or shade, winter or summer, the one always balanced the other, and he could make no improvement; so that, in the last page, he was compelled to write: "The Great Original has made all things perfect, therefore silence is wisdom." He then stamped every page with a circle, the emblem of the Great Original, who is without beginning or end, but otherwise the book was a blank.

To this great man is likewise due the credit of teaching the art of cultivating the land in circles. Perhaps it would be as well if I were to explain how this is done; not that I think my countrymen would adopt it, simple as it is, and perfect in its success. It must be remembered that in this interior country there are no beasts of burden, therefore all laborious work is done by the giants, ploughing among the other things; two or four of them being as well able to draw a plough as any two or four horses I ever saw, and with far more skill, for their plough requires no guiding. In the first place, every forty feet there is a stake driven into the ground the second row of stakes coming half way between the first row; each of these stakes has a shoulder to it. The plough consists of a straight piece of timber, about four inches by ten, and twenty feet long, a hole at one end to drop over the shoulder of the stake, and a pin to keep it down; at the other end a broad wheel to prevent the plough from sinking too deep. These ploughs are small, and about eighteen inches apart all along the beam. After walking round they lift the plough off the stake and carry it to the next. Of course, the corresponding row of circles fit the hollows of the first. If time is pressing, the ploughers are followed by two others with a harrow, which again is followed by a drill. This last is so contrived that one round drills in all the grain. They then lift the beam off the stake, shift it two or three inches, alter the screw at the wheel end a little, one more go round and the seed is covered. It is then rolled, not in circles but quite straight as we do in England. By this circular process, they not only weed the land but stir the soil and earth up, such things as require to be so done. I can assure my countrymen it works like magic, producing good crops, and is a neat system of agriculture. There is one thing, the soil is light, and perhaps that is in their favour.

CHAPTER IX.

I WILL now say a few words about my friends the giants, and, if I speak warmly in their praise, it is no more than they deserve; for a more mild, gentle, or better-tempered class of people I never met with; and yet in many things they are shamefully treated by their masters, the men. Before I close this subject, I shall expose such schemes of villainy, treachery, and deceit on the part of the men, as will cause my countrymen to look down upon them with the same disgust and contempt that the gorilla did when he saw himself reflected in the water, but supposed it to be some other beast.

In the first place, the laws are very partially administered. For instance, if a giant, returning home somewhat tired at night, takes a near cut and crosses a field, the property of some other, he is fined for trespass, and if he cannot pay, he is flogged; the law being interpreted that if one cannot pay in purse he must in person. But, if any number of men, racing, order their servants (giants, of course) to pull up a fence and push them across meadows or gardens, that they may thereby reach the winning-post the sooner, it is not considered trespassing. True, they may be called upon to pay damages, but as all the land is owned by the men, they never do this. "But," it may be said, "suppose the land to be leased to a giant?" In that case it is worded in the lease, that the lessee may, with his friends, drive everywhere for sport. But suppose some poor giant has the bit of land that is allowed him to grow vegetables upon, crossed, and all his crop destroyed? Well, in that case he could get no recompense, because he does not lease the land, and therefore, in point of law, is neither owner or occupier. True, he may humbly go and state his grievance, and, if the man feel so disposed, he may give him something, which I am told is sometimes done.

Another strange law they have; if a man order a giant (his hired servant) to draw a load beyond his strength, and he sustains any injury thereby, there is no redress for the giant; even though his limbs were broken, and he himself rendered useless or life destroyed, his family could recover nothing. Again, if a giant allows his daughter to be hired to any man (which is the case if not exchanged) and he out of mere wantonness (provided he do it in sport) render her a cripple for life, an act often done, the father can recover no damages, because she was her master's property for the time being. I have often ground my teeth with rage to think such an act of injustice could possibly be allowed. It really is monstrous to think that a giant, after once engaging his daughter to do any kind of labour for a man, she may be so injured in body, to say nothing of the mental injury sustained that the whole of her after life is rendered wretched and miserable, and in this condition returned upon her father's hands, after a short notice, so crippled that she remains a burden upon him for life. I fancy I can hear my countrymen, and above all, English women, exclaim, "Shame upon them!". Yet it is so, hard as it is to believe. But strange to say, if the man before he attacks the giant's daughter, should put on a threatening look, shout, scream, or make a great noise of any sort so that she may be alarmed, and aware of his intention to harm her, he can be severely punished, even though she escape; but, if he come with a smiling face concealing his intentions, and so take her unawares, he is not punished; because, in that case it is considered only sport, no matter how she may suffer.

Now, although it is not so expressed in words, yet a giant, while in the employ of a man, has no property in himself, or his wife and family in him; he belongs body and mind entirely to his master. I once, on seeing a giant flogged till the blood ran down his back, enquired the reason, which I will relate as told me. The giant in question had been sent some distance with a load which was beyond his strength to draw, but with permission if, upon reaching a certain place, he could not draw it any further, he might hire an animal called an "asinus," a beast somewhat larger than an ox, yet more like a goat without horns. These animals are often used by the giants in much the same manner as a cat's-meat-man may tie a dog to his barrow, but not by the men, as they lack grace or dignity, and are, in fact, as poor worthless beasts as I ever saw. The poor giant tried hard to draw his load, but fell down many times, cutting his legs and making the blood flow pretty freely. At length he reached the place where he was to hire the asinus. Fastening the animal by his side he started on again, but the brute was stubborn and refused to pull; at which the giant thrashed him. The owner, seeing this, arrested the giant for cruelty, and he was fined, but not having the money to pay with, he was flogged, as I have said. Now the rascality of these proceedings consists in the fact that a man may work a giant, no matter how ill he may he, or how he may suffer; or put as heavy a load upon him as he thinks proper, and the law does not punish him for cruelty; but if a giant attempts to obtain, by force, a little assistance from a stubborn animal, he is fined for cruelty to animals, and if he does not pay the fine, he is punished with harder blows than be gave the animal. Now I quite agree that no animal ought to be cruelly treated, but what I think so unjust is, that the giant is not protected from the cruelty of his master the same as the animal is from the cruelty of his owner; truly these are a strange people.

I have been told that many years ago the giants were all slaves, and belonged entirely to their masters, the men; but the system was found very expensive, and for many reasons did not answer. The principal reason was, that under the slave system the masters found they could not get as much work out of a giant as they knew they should be able to if he was what they called a free giant. Now they could not starve them, and a sort of pride induced them to give them enough to keep them in working order, so they resolved to free them and give them wages; just enough to keep them when at work, so that when the masters wanted no work of them they had to starve—and this was pretty often the case, for the men would not give them employment unless at a profit to themselves.

To prevent them being driven to desperation the masters would give them just a little very coarse food daily, not enough to keep them in health, so disease crept in and destroyed large numbers of them. This the masters secretly rejoiced at, because it reduced the number of the giants, not heeding or fancying that their own numbers would likewise be diminished; and they sent medicine men to—as they said—cure the disorder, when all they wanted was better food. All these said "curers" of disorders did was to experiment upon the giants for the benefit of the men, and in so doing killed enormous numbers more.

The men also sent large numbers of their priesthood to frighten the remainder, and to tell them that all they suffered was sent by the Great Original, as a punishment for sins committed by their forefathers ever so many thousand years ago. And the poor fellows believe it, and a number of other things of this sort. The priests teach, them that if they blindly obey the men in all things they will not be punished in the next life. They do not put it exactly in that way; but, as my friend admitted to me, the object of their religion was to enslave the mind of the giants. "And we succeed," said he.

Another shocking piece of cruelty in, when the giants are getting very numerous, or the men think they are learning and knowing too much, they get together large numbers, ornament them with feathers and different coloured metals and stuffs, give them large clubs and then tell them to march. A number of their priesthood go in front carrying their sacred writings. They lead them on till they arrive at some wild desolate place, where they meet another large party who have been brought in like manner from a contrary direction. The priests on either side then tell the giants to kneel while they go through certain superstitious ceremonies. They then tell them the Great Original has commanded them to fight and kill each other, for it is his battle they are going to fight; and they, knowing no better, believe it; fall to with their clubs and beat each other's brains out, while the men shout and encourage them to do it.

By this means, as well as the former, other large numbers of the giants are destroyed, and, as the men say, the population is kept within bounds: the reformation of bad laws shoved out of sight, and the men, by one piece of villainy and another, greatly enriched. They say they require money to buy ornaments and clubs to adorn and arm the giants. This money they pretend to borrow of each other; and then after the massacre, compel the giants to pay it back, which as the poor fellows cannot do, they are taxed more heavily, which of course means longer hours of labour.

At this the men laugh, for, as my friend said when I spoke to him upon these matters, "Look here, it is either them or us. Therefore if we would rule we must keep them down by every means we can think of; we must keep their minds down by the dread of future punishment, and induce obedience to us by the hope of rewards in another state of existence. We must keep their numbers down by war, disease, and starvation, and keep them too poor to obtain the means of resistance, and as ignorant as possible, that they may not know how to resist."

"But," said I, "what need is there of all this contention? You do not think, do you, that if the giants were your masters they would murder you all?"

"Oh no," said he; "for if they did, their children would be men like us."

"True," said I; "and if you destroyed them, your children would be all giants."

"Oh!" I exclaimed, "I can now see the wisdom of your Great Original in creating you as he has. Destroy as you will you cannot exterminate each other. Truly did your great philosopher say all things are created in wisdom, and but for this, and the fact that they are necessary for your very existence, you would have destroyed every giant centuries ago. But why not, since you cannot escape from each other, treat them as you treat each other, and allow them a fair share of this world's enjoyment?"

"Never," he replied. "We naturally fear them because they are stronger than we are, and we hate because we fear."

"And they," I replied, "naturally love you because you are their children, weak in body, but strong in intellect; therefore they obey and serve. But let me beg of you pause and remember, your Great Original has given you a talent that you ought to use for the benefit of others, and for his own honour and glory; and, as wisdom should lead the way, stop in your cruelty to them and remember they have the strength, and may forget themselves, and destroy you."

"We shall change it at present," said he. "We have them down, and down we shall keep them. 'Down' is our motto. By it we have ruled in the past, and by it we will govern in the future."

As he finished speaking he strode the room with haughty strides, and wiped the sweat from his really beautiful face. For a few moments I gazed upon him with mingled feelings of awe and admiration, thinking "What indeed after all is a giant compared with such as you?" when at this moment turning my head, I caught sight through the window of a giant amusing himself with his master, literally balancing him in the hollow of his hand, twenty feet from the ground. This sight turned the current of my thoughts.

"Is there no instance," I enquired, "in which they have tried to obtain the upper hand?"

"History," he replied, "tells us of one or two occasions when they have done so, and some thousands of men have been sacrificed in their rage; but we bought some of their leaders. Our priests, by the aid of superstition and cunning, spread mistrust and jealousy among the rest; then, by working upon their fears respecting present, and, above all, future punishment, induced them to fall to and slaughter each other, after which some of the remainder humbly sued for pardon, which we granted, first compelling them to put to death the rest of their leaders. After this outbreak we had peace and quietness for many a generation."

The religion of these people is nothing but a complete bundle of contradictions; at least that is the way I look at it, but their priests do not think so. According to their arguments it is the most beautiful religion ever inspired, that is, they say, if you only understand it; and to do this they pretend you must be inspired. Well, I have tried hard to understand it, but, not being inspired, all I can make out of it is, it is a religion of theory and not of practice. Their piety consists in each one compelling his neighbour to believe and act up to it, but ofttimes doing just the contrary himself. For instance; if a priest saw any two fighting, he would jump between them and stoutly cudgel both, telling them, at the same time, they ought to know better; that their religion did not allow fighting; quite forgetting he was doing just what he declared was wrong. Again supposing any two neighbours attend the priests' call to prayers; they do so, not because either wishes to go, or would go, but because each is afraid the other would talk about him.

The priests are continually doing the very thing they condemn in others, and if anyone should have the boldness to point this out to them, they would answer (putting the forefinger of their right hand to the side of the nose): "Don't do as I do, but as I say."

Thus my countrymen will see at once these people are everlastingly quarrelling about their religion; each one storming and raving at his neighbour. I am told it always has been so, and apparently always will. To me it appeared shocking to hear people shouting and roaring at each other, "Why don't you go to prayers? Why don't you believe this, or that?"—when, as I have told my friend, if each one would only hold his tongue, let his neighbour alone and do right himself, what an immense amount of hard feeling would be saved.

He coolly answered "If this were done we should have no need of priests. No, no, we should all go to sleep; and don't you attempt to propagate such a doctrine as that each one should do right himself and let his neighbour alone, or the priest will not let you alone. Why, such an idea would destroy them at a blow, and there would be an end to all need of priests."

So, of course, I held my tongue.

Now I am among Christians, I can speak my mind freely; and, no doubt, had Englishmen heard the contention I have, they would have thought as I did, and do still, that the religion of these people is wrong from beginning to end, or requires to be vastly modified. I admit there are many good points in their faith, but while each one is continually railing at his neighbour, forcing him to follow out this or that particular doctrine, I, for one, fail to appreciate them; and to such an extent are their religious maxims distorted to suit the designs of their priesthood, that if their great philosopher was now amongst them, he would fail to recognise the doctrine he had taught.

In their law they are equally bad. Each one is continually prying into his neighbours' actions for something to find fault with to get him into trouble, and by this bad system all confidence between them is lost, each one always trying to hide his own delinquencies while proclaiming the faults of another.

I am sorry to have to admit it, but it is a fact that honesty is only valued for the position it gives one over another, and not for any particular love of that virtue. I do not mean to say this rule is without exceptions. I think there are some, but speaking of the mass, their only reason for following any of the cardinal virtues is the fear that if he does otherwise his neighbours will tell of him.

So with virtue among their women. They each boast of their own, yet really value it in none, and scarcely admit it to exist in their best friend. Each one takes secret pleasure in trampling it under foot, provided they can do it and no one know it. The wife, if virtuous, is only so from fear of her husband, and he through fear of his wife; each longing for the opportunity to be otherwise. All their religious ceremonies and observances are only carried out because others do it, and the fear of being talked of if they do not.

Well, I suppose it's of no use finding fault. Be it as it is; but I cannot help thinking, if some sudden change of public opinion was to set in, a system like this would come tumbling down like a house of cards. It appears to me to stand upon a bad foundation; but my friend argues differently. He says, evil is necessary, so with good; and, therefore, like our race, it must come from the opposite side. If good existed in ourselves there would be an end of evil, a dead lock, and no progress; but, by the evil being in each individual to do wrong, together with the theory of good, to compel their neighbour to do right, we have a very fair balance, and the world makes great progress.

"The human mind and brain," he says, "require to be continually in exercise, just as much as the world requires to be kept revolving; there would be neither day or night without, therefore both are needed."

"But," said I, "you have so many glaring faults."

"True," he observed; "and these we are continually tinkering at, never getting them exactly right, yet always finding employment, and something to exercise the mind upon."

"Well, all I can say is, I can't understand it; true I am only a poor ignorant sailor, therefore it is quite impossible I should comprehend matters fit only for the wise to understand."

The children of the giants (i.e., the men) are taken from them by the men; to be fed, clothed, and educated, at the age of four. They then pass through, and occupy different grades and positions in society, according to the means or wealth of those who adopt them; but, in no case, do they perform any really laborious work. Some study their sacred writings, to learn the art of being a priest; others, all the ancient laws and abstruse ideas and idioms that serve to confound, perplex, and make much out of little; yet serve to give them a position in society they too often ruin. Others study physic, to the more simple parts of which they give very hard names, that they may appear learned. In fact, as soon as they have become acquainted with all the hard names, they are competent to start in business, there being little else to learn or do, except it is to "em" and "ah," or hold their tongue; for nature does all the work for them if left alone. Yet these would be wise men take all the credit. Not a few of the men are supported by the State for the express purpose of slaughtering the giants, by the aid of their art, when they become too numerous; or, if from any other cause, society requires to be fomented into a condition resembling a nation gone mad.

I have not before said so, but there are several nations in the interior of the earth, each very friendly with their neighbour in appearance, yet ready, if possible, to exterminate the other in a very short time; if, as they say, an occasion should arise for so dire a necessity.

It appears the men who learn the art of killing the giants, do not, in point of fact, do it themselves. Their science consists in inducing the giants to slay each other, and, for this purpose, large numbers of them are trained to a variety of exercises, which are harmless in themselves, but shockingly fatal when performed in the face of one another. Here, again, I must find fault with their sacred writings, which expressly tells them they must not kill; but, by some unaccountable absurdity, these same sacred writings are full of accounts of battles, thousands of giants slain, homes made desolate, and crimes too shocking to dwell upon; so that, when they wish the giants to kill each other, they read to them only such portions of these writings that speak of war and bloodshed. And, when they have done enough fighting, they read to all that are left alive that portion of their sacred writings only which condemns war and fighting. I am sorry I cannot explain to my countrymen all the arguments the central inhabitants bring to bear upon this war and peace subject, because I think it would interest Englishmen; though I admit at the same time that they, being Christians, would certainly be shocked and grieved, especially when I explain that the same priest who so loudly condemns fighting is the very one who carries their sacred writings in front of the giants when they march to the slaughter of each other.

CHAPTER X.

FEARING my countrymen will grow tired of hearing so much of the evil doings of these people, I will now turn to some matters that interested and set me thinking not a little; after which, I shall explain the circumstance that led to my being expelled the country, although it turned out fortunate for me, as, by that means, I was not only restored to my family, but to my country.

My learned friend one day engaged me in conversation upon our method of administering justice; and, as far as I was able, I took much pains to explain all I knew. After hearing me to the end he observed:

"Do you really, Mr. Falsivir, mean to say that, if a man is accused of a small offence, your magistrate has the power to set at liberty, fine, or imprison, according to his individual will or pleasure?" I said I believed it was so.

He shook his head, and observed that was a bad way of administering justice. "For instance," said he, "if a man is brought before your magistrate accused of beating his wile. Suppose the case proved; from what you tell me your magistrate can impose a nominal fine, imprison, or dismiss?"

I said that was so; and I could not see where there was any wrong in it.

"But I do," he observed. "Suppose your magistrate has a villainous-tempered wife, and a criminal should plead that his wife was bad-tempered; do you mean to say the magistrate would not feel that all women were alike, and so lean towards the man, and to the prejudice of the women? We administer justice different to that, I assure you. We do not allow any one man the power to fine, imprison, or set at liberty just as he may feel inclined."

I asked him to explain their method to me, for I thought there was something in what he said; the more so, as I just then happened to remember, on one occasion when I was in a police- court, a magistrate saying to a prisoner: "It's well for you that I am in a good temper this morning, or I would commit you to prison."

My friend commenced, by saying that every case was tried by what we should call a jury, and they call deputies of law and justice. "Attached," said he, "to our courts of law are two commissions: one for prosecution; the other for defence. But, perhaps," he continued, "it would be better if you paid a visit to our hall of justice."

To this I readily agreed. In describing this visit I can give my countrymen an idea of the manner in which trials are carried on by this singular people. But first it must be understood that I am only referring to the administration of justice among the men; the giants in rare cases only coming under the same laws as their masters. At the same time, I admit it is worded in their constitution that a giant's plough shall not be taken from him without due process of law.

Upon our arrival at the hall of justice, I was surprised and amused to find that the building was quite round. "Circles again," I thought; "what a people for the circle! Soon I was seated, almost in the centre of the building, with the lawyers, as I took them to be, just in front of me, the prisoner close up on their right hand, and the witnesses on the left. I noticed before me, in a segment form, and perhaps some fifteen feet from the wall, five-and-twenty small compartments, and one juryman seated in each compartment; in front of him a table and writing materials. None of the jurymen could see or speak to his neighbour. Over the heads of these twenty-five, and occupying a central position, were three judges. I carefully watched the trial from first to last, till the prisoner was taken away. I could understand a good deal, and my friend explained the rest.

"You see," he observed, when the trial was over, "each juryman must, without seeing the rest of the jurymen or speaking to them, write the verdict 'guilty' or 'not guilty' just as his conscience tells him; and when all have written their verdict, they are collected in a box by a court attendant and handed up to the three judges. The centre one then takes out of the box the verdicts one by one, and, first showing it to the other two judges, tells the prisoner that number so-and-so proclaimed him guilty or not guilty, as the case may be. After all the twenty- five verdicts have been pronounced, the guilty or not guilty is governed by the majority, of which the prisoner is duly informed; and, if guilty, the jurymen then fix the punishment, which is done by each juryman who has pronounced him guilty writing on a piece of paper the number of days he considers he ought to be imprisoned, the judges instructing the jury as to the greatest amount of punishment they can inflict. Of course, if there are any jurymen who did not find him guilty, these send up a blank paper. The twenty-five different amounts of punishment are then handed up, the total cast up and divided by twenty-five, and the twenty-fifth part is the punishment; so that the prisoner is not unduly punished, or ridiculously leniently dealt with. If there has been a former conviction, the prosecuting attorney informs the judges; and this, according to law, and without the option of the jury, increases the punishment one-half; if two former convictions, it doubles the punishment; and so on in proportion. But otherwise every case is tried upon its merits, and no former conviction is allowed to prejudice a case."

There are some matters in relation to prosecution and defence that might interest my countrymen, so I will mention them.

There is a Court of Prosecution, and a Court of Defence. When a man is accused before the Court of Prosecution of a crime, the evidence is collected and put down in writing, and a copy is forwarded to the Court of Defence, who thereupon have an interview with the prisoner, hear his side of the case, and give him the best advice. If the prisoner is really guilty, he is advised so to plead. When the case comes on, the Court of Prosecution state their case, and the Court of Defence (if the prisoner so instructs them) pleads guilty; the jury having nothing to try, then fix the punishment as in the case of a man tried and found guilty; but, according to law, if there is no former conviction, his plea of guilty reduces his punishment by one half; because, they argue, that he who confesses his fault is more likely to amend than he who tries to brave it out; and, if there has been a former conviction, the plea of guilty saves him from the penalties of such conviction; but it does not save him from more than one former conviction, all others counting against him. Both the Courts of Prosecution and of Defence are paid by the State.

My friend informed me that the jurymen are elected by the people, and for life, unless a judge discharges them for incapacity or bad behaviour; and the number elected for each court is seventy-five. From these in rotation are the necessary twenty-five selected upon a trial. Their trials are soon over, for, as the lawyers on both sides receive an annual salary from the State, there is no interested motives to spin them out. Likewise, after this manner, every action, civil or otherwise, is tried; and from which there is no appeal. But should a prisoner, after sentence, be proved innocent, they go through a ceremony of tearing the leaves containing the record of the trial from the ledger, and the prisoner is compensated by the State.

I asked my friend how it was that the punishment was divided by twenty-five when there were cases in which, perhaps, a bare majority brought the prisoner in guilty.

"For this reason," said he. "Suppose thirteen find him guilty—that is a majority. Now if these thirteen amongst them sentence a prisoner to one thousand days' imprisonment, and the judge was to divide by thirteen, he would be imprisoned about seventy-seven days; but if it is divided by twenty-five he would receive only forty days. And this is right, for the greater the number who do not find him guilty the stronger must be the doubt, the benefit of which certainly ought to be given to the prisoner."

CHAPTER XI.

THERE is not the least doubt but I should have ended my days amongst these people, but fate, or bigotry, willed it otherwise, and not my special inclination.

It would appear that amongst those who had learned English, and had access to the different articles belonging to me—my Bible amongst the rest—some, very naturally, studied it, and often referred to me for explanation; this I did my best to give, and so caused a schism to spring up amongst them, the result ending in hard language; which, of course, came to the ears of the priesthood, and so to his majesty's, who thereupon, by the advice of this priesthood, ordered everything of mine to be put under seal; and a cabinet council met to decide what was best to be done with me. Some were for putting me to death, because, as they asserted, I was a giant in nature, although not in stature; others thought that I was a being of another world, and, as I had come through the shafts of the earth, I ought to be sent back the same way. Among this number was his majesty; but it was some time before they could agree amongst themselves upon any set plan. At last, in view of a number of unforeseen circumstances, among the rest the possibility of my marrying and so leaving a different race of mortals amongst them, but really through fear I might convert some of them to the true religion, it was decided to construct a balloon from the model of my old one, manufacture gas, and let the giants convey it to the shaft I had come by; and, as soon as the air currents were right, as they would be shortly, or as soon as darkness set in at the north polar shaft, send me back to where I came from, and everything I possessed.

If the reader will kindly remember, I stated that when I came out of the shaft—some eighteen months before the time I now speak of—the sun in the interior of the earth was shining straight down the north polar shaft, and the sun on the outside of the earth was leaving the north pole. It is this action of the two suns that causes the air to descend by the north polar shaft, and so continue to descend for six months of the year. Now by the reverse action of the two suns—viz., our sun shining on the south polar shaft, the central sun then having its dark and cold side to the interior south polar shaft, our sun draws the atmosphere up—a continual circulation is kept up and a regular trade wind six months one way and six months the other. As I had been here eighteen months, it was, therefore, near winter in the interior of the earth at the part I was residing at, and, of course, spring coming on at the north pole on the outside, and the current of air would soon be rushing through the earth in the reverse direction it was when I came, and so favourable for me to return to the surface.

I own I should have liked to return by the south polar shaft, but there were many things against that. In the first place, the part of the country I was then in was, in a straight line, only two hundred miles from the north polar shaft, but I was two thousand eight hundred from the south polar shaft, and several peoples and kingdoms between me and that; and an ocean six hundred miles across, and no possible way of crossing it, from the fact that these people have no ships such as we possess, only row-boats. The cause of this is, I fancy, not far to seek; in other words, the trade winds (as I call them) blowing so steadily six months each way there would be no chance of return till they changed. The run across their largest ocean, I believe, might be done in sixty hours; but to wait six months for the return wind is fatal to shipping interest; and, if I had attempted to go by land, the journey was over three thousand miles, though this is often done, and a very good trade, I am told, is carried on amongst the different countries in the interior of the earth; but had I been ever so inclined to return to my native country by the south polar shaft there were two serious obstacles in the way, besides the distance; one was six months to wait, and the other the danger (so the Sagerue looked upon it) of some of the other nations getting hold of me and preventing my return, and his majesty was determined that no other country should discover anything about me; but of all these matters I was kept in ignorance until the last moment.

One day my friend came to me and said "Falsivir, I have some bad news to tell. I have feared it for some time," he observed, in a melancholy tone, "but had hoped that wiser counsels would prevail; but the priests are your enemies, and that is the truth; and when they are once down upon a man, his fate is sealed."

"What is it?" I eagerly asked, for, by his manner, I plainly saw that something was wrong.

"My friend," he sighed, "may the Great Original protect you, but you are to be sent out of the country, and by the way you came. I should have told you some time since, but I was not allowed."

"And how is all this to be accomplished?" I anxiously inquired.

"A balloon," he replied, "is already made, much larger and stronger than the one you come in, and with a lifting power twenty times as great, and it is supposed capable of floating twenty days at least. Everything belonging to you will be put in the car, except your old balloon, which, after being used as a pattern, has been destroyed by burning. You are not to take anything from here that will throw the least light upon the truth of your assertions respecting us, should you reach your native land. But," he added, "I have here something I prize beyond everything else; and if you will promise not to mention to a living soul what I have done, I will give it you."

Of course I readily promised, not knowing what it was.

He then, to my surprise, took from round his neck a flat copper circle, the emblem of their faith and superstition; upon it was some of their language engraved, but very nearly worn out. "Take this," said he, as he placed it round my neck; "It will protect you from every danger, and bring you safe to your native land."

Of course, I did not believe him; yet I did not like to say so, for I knew his intentions were good; and it is the motives for giving that we ought to think of, and not the value of the gift.

I told my friend that I was sorry we must part, yet somehow I almost felt a secret pleasure in making the attempt to return; the more so as I had the greatest confidence in these people's skill in making a balloon. But there was a fearful amount of danger and difficulty to be surmounted. It is true I was only two hundred miles from the north polar shaft, but there were mountains to be crossed which, if not of fearful height, were alarmingly steep; and, as winter was fast setting in, they were already covered with snow for at least one thousand feet from their summits. In the parts I was in it was reasonably warm, and so it might be at the foot of the mountains; but in the higher altitudes it was bitterly cold and dark; add to this, my balloon was being filled this side of the mountains, and would have to be carried across by the giants, ten in number, each one with a rope fastened round his body, so that his hands might be at liberty.

My friend remarked: "It is deputed that I shall go with you as far as the polar shaft and see you off, and I assure you that I will do everything for your comfort and safety. The reason for sending me is, the Sagerue knows that I have travelled all over the world, and have visited both the north and the south polar shafts. It is true I never visited either during the dark days, so I shall not attempt to disguise the fact of the danger; still I think, if we follow pretty nearly the same method in your return as was adopted in your coming, all may go well. I must tell you," he continued, "that at about two thousand feet elevation on the mountain there is a pass between, two very high peaks. This pass is frequently used in summer, and has a good road through it, but in winter is apt to be blocked by snow, through which the wind rushes with fearful rapidity towards the shaft."

"Shall we," I asked, "have to cross the mountain in total darkness."

"That depends," said he. "If the sky is clear, there is light enough for our purpose reflected, as you know, from the opposite side of the world; but if the trade winds have too long set in towards the pole they are so charged with moisture that there is no seeing anything, and the snowstorms are incessant. Therefore our chance lies in so arranging matters that you may fairly start before the full force of the change has set in; and as this is really the most favourable time. I shall have everything ready by to-morrow, and in the early morning we will set out, so as to make the most of the short hours of daylight."

"How long," I asked, "will it take us to arrive where the balloon is being prepared?"

"I have already," he replied, "stationed giants every ten miles along the road, and as each pair of giants can run off his ten miles in half-an-hour, and the distance being only one hundred and twenty-five miles, you see, if nothing happens, we shall be there in about six hours."

"Is there any snow," I asked, "on the road before we reach the mountain?"

"No, I think not," said he; "but, as you know, we have had a deal of rain lately; and, no doubt, as we proceed north, we shall find still more, and, as we may suppose, the rivers are very much swollen. Still, as all the bridges are in good condition, the ill-convenience of so much wet is all we shall have to put up with. But, as I said before, my experience of the immediate neighbourhood of the north polar shaft informs me that we shall have a deal of snow to contend with when on the mountains; and this, added to the darkness, makes the danger rather serious. I will now," he went on, "inform you that no one except his majesty and his spiritual advisers know anything about your departure."

"I suppose," said I, "that I shall be allowed to bid adieu to all my friends?"

"I am sorry to say you cannot. None of those to whom you have imparted any of your religion being aware of your departure, nor must you inform them."

"This is cruel; this is shameful!" I exclaimed, as I walked the room with hasty strides. "To think, because I imparted some of the incontrovertible truths of my religion to them, that I and they should be so persecuted."

Turning suddenly in my walk, I found my friend had left the room, a servant entering with lamps.

About half-an-hour later one of the priests—no friend of mine, although I had taught him to talk English—entered, to (as he said) say farewell. He, being one of his majesty's spiritual advisers, of course knew all about my departure.

"I have come," said he, "to say farewell, Mr. Falsivir, and to hope you will reach your native country in safety."

"And no thanks to you," I sneeringly replied, "if I do."

"Don't let us part bad friends," said he, "what I have done was done for the best."

"Is it the best you can do to turn against me because you fear the sacred truths of my religion?"

"All a matter of opinion; _I_ say _mine_ is the true religion."

Walking close up to him, and in a somewhat angry tone, I observed, "I can prove your religion is false."

"Oh! And how will you do it?"

"Listen," said I.

"I am all attention," he observed, as he took a seat at the table, and turned the lamp.

"Is there none amongst you," I asked, "who differ in opinion respecting your so-called sacred writings?"

"Plenty, I admit we are divided into many sects."

"And have the strongest of those sects," I asked, "never persecuted the weaker?"

"Certainly; if they did not admit the truth as we taught it. We allow no man to deny the works of the Great Original."

"You admit you have all sorts of opinions?"

"Yes," said he, "I do."

"Then this proves your sacred writings not the work of the Great Original, as you call him."

"I cannot see that."

"But I can," I answered, "because anything that is the work of the Great Original is so perfect that there cannot be any two opinions about it; and in proof let me ask you, is snow the work of the Great Original?"

"Certainly."

"Did you ever hear two opinions about snow? Did anyone ever call it fire?"

"Certainly not," he answered, somewhat pettishly.

"Is lightning the work of the Great Original? and did you ever hear any two opinions about it. And if anyone said it was not lightning, would you persecute him for so saying?"

"Certainly not."

"But I thought you allowed no man to deny the work of the Great Original?"

"No," said I, "it is only when he denies the work of man (your so-called sacred writings) that you persecute him. The sun, the clouds, the snow, the rain: all this, the work of the Great Original, he may deny with impunity; but should he dare dispute one word of your sacred writings, which are only the work of man, you would persecute him with every torture known to human ingenuity. Had a belief in your sacred writings been so necessary to a man's future welfare, as you make out, it would have been as plain to the human mind, as the lightning and the snow, about which there are no two opinions, and yet you admit a belief in these are not necessary to our salvation."

My visitor arose, and, laying his hand upon my shoulder, and in a trembling voice said,

"Mr. Falsivir, the sooner you are away from this the better for all of us; for I fear, if I had heard much more from your lips, you would almost persuade me to turn Christian." So saying he left the room.

The sleep I got that night was little, indeed, as one may suppose, but towards morning I did drop off for an hour or so, but was soon awoke and informed my breakfast was ready. "Before I go," I observed to my attendant (but, who was like all who surrounded me now, no friend of mine), "I suppose I may see my horses?"

I will here inform the reader that at different times several ponies, as I called them, had been given me, and I had trained them to run in a ring and perform like circus horses, much to the amusement of the court. These little creatures were very much attached to me and I to them.

"I think not," he replied. "The orders are that you are not to leave your rooms until you leave for good, nor are you to have intercourse with anyone."

Shortly after, and about an hour before daybreak, the only one whom I could now call friend entered ready for our journey, and in a husky voice asked me to get ready. In silence I obeyed him, and in ten minutes was ready, observing, as I did so: "If I am to go in these clothes, God help me, for I shall be frozen stiff."

"Everything," said he, "that you can possibly want is provided, even to a much warmer fur suit than you came in; all these things will be found awaiting you at the mountains, where your balloon is now filling."

I said no more, but followed my guide, without asking to see or bid adieu to a living soul, and took my seat in the carriage in silence. My friend gave the word to the giants and the man at the guiding wheel, and we were off.

"I did not tell you," remarked my friend, "but when we started the Sagerue, the Queen, and, in fact, all of them, were watching from different windows. I was," said he, "supposed not to know it, so I thought it best not to tell you. Now," he asked, "are you comfortable? Wrap yourself up well." Then, as I did not answer, he observed: "Come, be cheerful."

I coughed two or three times—as one might say, to get the dishcloth out of my throat—and then remarked: "they might have let me see the ponies before I came away; but I am sure one of them saw me and bid me adieu, for I heard it at the window."

"The Queen," said he, "was at that open window, and I believe had your pony in her arms at the time, but I don't think it was light enough for the animal to see you."

After this we fell into silence, which was but little broken upon the whole of the journey.

We arrived at the place where my balloon was being filled an hour or two after dark; and, after some refreshments at the house, in about an hour, I was informed that as soon as I had on my fur suit all was ready. This did not take me long to do, and, more like one going to be hung than aught else, I followed my friend (who like myself was clad in fur) to the door, outside of which I found two giants standing in fur suits from head to toe like myself. On their backs was strapped a sort of chair with a covering all over. The giants went down on their knees, and by the aid of a small step ladder I and my friend got in, it being at this time as dark as an ordinary dark night; my friend gave the giants their directions, and away we started, first bidding adieu to our host.

"Where is the balloon?" I asked, after a few minutes' silence, and with some difficulty, for the shaking I got made it troublesome to speak, as the giants were walking fast, a good three-and-a-half yards at every step.

My friend, first ordering the giants to keep close together, informed me it had gone on ahead already filled, with ten giants to take care of it.

"There is not much wind now," I observed, "but should a breeze spring up it will give them some trouble, and perhaps be torn to pieces."

"Let us hope for the best," said he.

"Is there much ballast in it," I inquired.

"Not much more than half the quantity you will require, but the giants carry the remainder required."

"What need to do that," I asked, "stones are plentiful enough, surely."

"I don't know," he answered, "if they were ever so plentiful, they would be covered some five or six feet deep in snow, and as far as I can remember there is no loose stones about at the other side of the pass."

Silence now reigned for some time, broken only by the heavy breathing of the giant. The back of my head being on a level with the nape of his neck made it all the plainer to be heard. Of course, a man is only a very light load for a giant to carry, but it was the steepness of the road that made them puff and blow so much.

In about an hour after we left our last starting-place we reached the entrance to the pass. During this hour we had travelled about eight English miles, nearly all more or less up- hill; but for only the last mile had any snow troubled us. Very little had we spoken to each other, for I felt too miserable; the dreadful journey I was about to undertake, and in total darkness, added to the thought that, if I should pass through the world in safety, what a dreary region I should find myself in, depressed me. It was said that my balloon would carry me for twenty days, one-and-a-half of which would be required to pass through the earth, and then, thought I, "where may not contrary winds carry me? everywhere, but not in sight of a friendly port."

In this dismal manner another hour passed, the snow all the time up to the giant's knees, and in darkness as bad as midnight. Presently there was a pause. "What is it?" inquired my conductor of the giants, and I of him.

It appeared that the giants were afraid to proceed any further with my balloon; in fact, they had returned a short distance, owing, as they reported, to the steepness of the road, and that not up-hill, but down, the wind, as they descended, making the balloon almost unmanageable.

"Now, Falsivir," inquired my friend, "what do you propose doing? I would go on further, but my orders are positive not to risk the lives of any of my party, but to see you fairly off as soon as I can go no further in safety."

"Be it so, then," said I, "God only knows what is in store for me. Assist me into the car and let me be gone anywhere from a country and people to whom my presence appears to be a curse."

"Don't speak like that, Falsivir, and remember I have given you a talisman that will take you in safety."

"Superstitious humbug," I muttered between my teeth, and, in my anger I believe I should have thrown it away, had it not been next my skin round my neck, and all my things fastened over it. But this bit of anger did me good; it aroused me.

Giving my conductor—or executioner, as I thought him just then—to understand that I was ready, the giant at whose back I was, stepped close up to the car which floated at about the height of their chests, and I had no difficulty in getting in. The remainder of the ballast was then put in, and my friend informed me that, not only was everything of mine in the car, but likewise plenty of provisions and some bottles of hot milk, encased in furs and wool to keep it from freezing; also a lamp and oil, the remains of my box of matches, and some luminous wood in a box. This last was to enable me to see my watch, and save me striking a match.

The balloon was then gently tried, and found to have some little rising power, but not much.

"And now," said my friend, "let us say farewell here, for as soon as we turn the angle in this pass, the wind may prevent us."

The giants then, one by one, brought their faces close to the netting, but still holding my balloon, and in their language, wished me good bye and gave me their blessing, seizing each in turn a little finger in one hand, a thumb in the other. I, with tears in my eyes, bid them good bye. My friend came last, the giant on whose back he was turning round for that purpose, his heart too full for speaking. He pressed his face against the netting, and I kissed him several times; and, I will say, that at this moment, I freely forgave everyone who had been the means of my being sent out of the country.

"Falsivir," he gasped, as soon as he could speak, "we will now carry and guide your balloon as far as we dare, and the moment you feel it safe for us to do so, you shout, and we will let you go."

In silence we then proceeded, there being but little wind, and that in our favour; one of the giants going ahead to see how the wind was blowing at the angle in the pass. Our suspense was of short duration, for, on reaching the cross road in the pass, it was found that the wind was both strong and steady in the right direction.

I gave a shout, and the next moment I was going and rising with the wind. Almost immediately, in that dark and desolate region, as it certainly is in the winter, all my friends were lost to view, though, for some time their voices were to be heard wishing me God speed.

"Farewell," I sighed, "your Great Original protect you and me;" and then, their voices still sounding in my ears, I looked up, as well as the balloon would permit, and saw the round golden ring of the sun which gave some light, although its dark side was towards me.

I began to think I was rising too much, because I had been told at starting that I ought to enter the shaft in about ten or twelve miles. I was rather in doubt what to do; of course, I did not want to drift right across the shaft; but then, I reflected, if I was descending, the golden outer ring of the sun would be visible, so for the present I hesitated what to do. But my time for reflection was short; the ring of the sun (the only thing I could see) was growing dimmer, so that one of two things was certain, either I was descending the shaft, or fogs and vapours were obscuring it. Still I knew not what to do; I was going somewhere, that was certain, for no friendly cheer greeted me now.

I did not feel cold, but I did dreadfully nervous and annoyed, because the top of my balloon kept me from seeing the sun's outer ring, which was evidently growing darker. There appeared no reflected light now from the sky or snow covered landscape. "Yes," I sighed, as the inky darkness closed around me, "I am, indeed, fairly on my journey through the earth, so now, let me collect my scattered senses. First, if the opinion of these people is correct, the zone of attraction is located one thousand miles from the interior surface of the earth, which point I shall reach—that is, if all goes well—in about ten hours, and, in my opinion, I shall hear the same noises I did before; and, if so, that will be the time to throw out my ballast; for it is clear to me, that, with the weight of ballast in this car, I shall be drawn to the centre of this attractive power; then, if I throw out the ballast, with the rising power of my gas, and the steady pressure of the atmosphere combined, I shall, as it were, gradually turn over, and so mount to the outer surface of the earth."

By the time I had so arranged my ideas, it was clear to me that I was really descending the great polar shaft, and that the steady pressure of the air was carrying me at a fearful rate, but there was little or nothing to note this by. It is true my balloon at times showed an inclination to spin like a top; at other times it gave a sort of jerk, as if the air was lumpy, and I think this spinning sensation (at least to some constitutions) would act medically, if anything, worse than the motion of a ship at sea.

I have been asked by aeronauts, since my return, if the heavy pressure of atmosphere, to which they consider anyone must be subject to while passing through this polar shaft, had any particular effect upon me, and I can safely say, not to the extent one might suppose. At any rate, I admit I certainly found this pressure much harder to bear going than I did upon my return, and I think the cause is not far to seek. It is said in the interior, that the air pressure upon the body is twenty-five pounds to the square inch, and I dare say this is so, for I always experienced a difficulty in breathing, and a very little exertion made me tired, but by degrees I got used to it. But, as regards the pressure of air in the shafts, I do not think it is any more—that is if the rate of speed is taken into consideration; of course, I feel convinced that nothing could remain stationary in the shafts; but, going with the air and at the same rate makes all the difference.

What to do, or how to beguile my time was, of course, a difficulty, as far as seeing was concerned; I might as well have had no eyes. Beyond a spin round or a jerk of the car there was nothing to relieve the dullness of this dismal journey. I sometimes tried to think what sort of an appearance the earth would have when I emerged from my darkness? that I should find the sun shining upon the north pole I felt sure, because, as far as my reckoning served me, it was about the twenty-fifth of March, but I was not quite sure.

Then again, where should I be carried when I emerged? To this last I dared not think much, and, to anyone who has sailed in the arctic seas, it will appear no wonder if I shuddered at my prospects.

It was in this manner I passed my time. At length I fell asleep, although I did not intend doing so, but had made up my mind to keep awake, for I felt there was danger in going to sleep; at least I felt I ought not to sleep till the zone of attraction was passed and my ballast thrown out; after then I did not think it would matter. But my readers need not wonder at my sleeping when they remember that I had but little sleep the night before, and had been travelling most of the day; and I must have been in the balloon five or six hours before I began to doze.

CHAPTER XII.

I AWOKE suddenly, hearing noises, and from the plainness with which I heard them it was evident the sooner I lost the sound the better. Accordingly, I commenced to throw out my ballast, slowly at first, but afterwards much quicker, for the sounds were very loud. The wind fairly howled at times, and my balloon tugged and spun in a very disagreeable manner. However, things soon got quieter, and I heard no more. After this I felt in my basket and took out some victuals, ate, and drank some wine, and, feeling more cheerful, drank some more; this time it was to the Union Jack of Old England; and I firmly believe I am the only Englishman who can say he has drank health to the flag of his country at least one thousand five hundred miles towards the middle of the earth. I admit many a man might have drank his country's health as near the pole as I then was, but not as near the interior of the earth.

Time dragged its length slowly along, and I began to wonder how long I had been here. Then suddenly I remembered what my friend had said about the luminous wood in a small box. Feeling for it, I opened the lid and to my delight found a luminous substance inside like rotten wood, but giving quite light enough for me to see the time by my watch; and, to my surprise, I found I had been twenty-nine hours travelling in the balloon, and my watch nearly run down. Winding it up, I, almost like a child playing with the fire, passed the box round the car, and was pleased to see the different things one after the other; and in this there was no danger, for although this substance gave a phosphorescent light, yet there was no warmth.

Presently I caught sight of one or two stars, then daylight, and in half a minute it was quite light, and in another half a minute I saw the sun. Yes, I was fairly on the outside of the world, but what astonished me, when I first saw the sun, it was on a level with my head, but appeared to be rising quite rapidly!

I now am convinced it was myself and balloon that was rising, and of course, the greater the height I reached, the more the sun appeared above the horizon; but I was greatly astonished at not seeing either mountains or land of any sort; only black darkness underneath me; but I soon understood the cause of this. I had evidently come up in the centre of the shaft, and as it is from one hundred to one hundred and twenty miles across, so of course the half of that distance is a long way to see.

My observations told me: first, that the air as it comes out of the interior of the earth, and, before it spreads much, is warm, and therefore gives the extreme pole a warmer climate than is to be found two or three degrees further south; in fact, for a certain distance, the farther south you travel, the colder it is. I found by my balloon that this stream of warm atmosphere rises to a great height—at least three miles—and then spreads out all around like an umbrella, and in that same form descends towards the earth; or, I might say, the polar ocean, over which I found myself in about four hours after I first saw the sun. About this time I began to feel the effects of the cold, and to my delight I found that my compass acted very well, and that the sun was, as it appeared to me, rising—though in reality I was travelling south with great speed.

Then I got confused in my ideas, for the sun appeared as if it was setting, and I travelling all the points of the compass, that is by the sun, but not by the instrument. I ate some food and drank some milk, it being even then scarcely cold, so well had it been wrapped up, yet I had left the centre of the earth at least forty-two hours, and it must have been quite forty-five since the milk was put in boiling hot.

I now became somewhat worn out through anxiety of mind and want of sleep, and at last, growing indifferent to all about me, did drop off to sleep. I slept about four hours, and in this time must have travelled south at a great speed. Of course, I could form no idea what part of the world I was in. I felt certain I was being carried along by the same stream of warm atmosphere that had brought me through the earth, but at such an altitude I could see nothing beneath me. Another reason for my not seeing beneath me was, the air was becoming chilled; and as this took place high masses of clouds formed all around and beneath me, and fairly wrapped me up in it; and so dense was this vapour that I could not see the sun or earth.

In this dismal manner, hours passed away; and I once more wound up my watch. Of course I ate some food whenever I needed it. I cannot say that the cold troubled me much for the first twenty-four hours, but after this it did, for the dense vapours I was floating in, becoming heavily charged by moisture, wetted everything like fine rain, and, an hour later, turned to snow. This I endured for about two hours.

At last I could stand it no longer, so resolved to let out some of my gas and descend, cost what it may. I can assure my readers that, sailing along, I knew not where, wrapped up in these clouds, so dense, in fact, that the sun's rays could not penetrate them, and therefore keeping me in darkness almost like night, was dreadful indeed. "Here goes," I thought; and I commenced to descend; yet not very fast: in fact, it was about one hour before I could see the ocean beneath me. Descending still lower, I saw icebergs floating about and large tracks of open water; but as I came down I found it was bitter cold. Presently I saw a ship; and, looking at her though my glass, I had the pleasure of noticing that I, too, was seen. This made me determined to let out my gas, and try and get on board. I noticed the sea appeared quite calm; but I found it less so than I supposed.

Down I came rapidly to the water, and touched it about half a mile south of the ship; and to my great delight saw a boat put off towards me. Slipping a life belt over my shoulders I cut the netting, and as my balloon was leaping from wave to wave and, I feared, travelling faster than the boat or ship, I determined to trust to the water. Seizing a flag in my hand I waved it, and then leaped into the sea, and was nearly stunned by the force with which I struck the water. I remembered no more till I found myself on board the ship.

For two or three days I was very ill, so much so that I could give no account of myself; but I got round a bit, and to my anxious inquiries as to where I was, was told I was on board the "Napoleon," a ship of seven hundred tons belonging to the port of Reikavik, in Iceland, that I was not far from the extreme northern point of Iceland, where they could land me, and from whence I could take ship to the extreme northern point of Scotland or Cape Wrath, and so, overland, to London.

I inquired respecting my balloon, and was informed that for upwards of an hour it was seen driving before the wind, but night coming on, it was lost sight of. I then, and on several occasions afterwards, as my health came round, related my adventures to the captain, an Irishman, who was much surprised at all I told him, and regretted they had not captured my balloon.

In three or four days I was able to come on deck; and on the seventh from the time I was taken up I was landed, nothing having occurred during the time worth mentioning.

I remained at Reikiavik for fourteen days, and then, on the 17th of April, 1851, I set sail for Cape Wrath, which place I reached on May 7th. Thence I started by ship for London on May 2lst, assisted by some friends to whom I related my adventures, and arrived in London on July 18th, 1851.


THE END